Medwyn Goodall

Rhythm of the Ancients

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Back in the early '80s, it was easy for urban hipsters to dismiss new age in general as mind-numbing elevator music. But as time passed, the new age genre grew to be so diverse and eclectic that sweeping generalizations became increasingly problematic. These days, a lot of the music that is categorized as new age is fairly interesting; Medwyn Goodall is a perfect example. The British guitarist/producer/composer is among the people who combine new age with a variety of world music; his previous CDs have tended to appeal to both new age and world audiences, and there is no reason why Rhythm of the Ancients won't do the same. In the past, Goodall has experimented with everything from Celtic to Asian music; this time, he has a South American state of mind. The term South American music can, of course, mean a wide variety of things -- Argentinean tango and Brazilian samba are both part of South American culture, and Goodall doesn't get into either of those things on Rhythm of the Ancients. Instead, this 2002 effort combines new age with the traditional Andean music that one associates with Peru and Bolivia. Goodall plays traditional South American instruments on this instrumental CD (including the charango), but he also plays everything from keyboards to the marimba -- and the end result is a thoughtful Andean/new age hybrid. All of the adjectives that new age enthusiasts love to hear -- words like calm, serene, peaceful, and tranquil -- are applicable on "Lost City," "Chamber of the Gods," and other tracks. However, the album is also substantial and intelligent. For all its serenity, Rhythm of the Ancients has a fair amount of meat on its bones.

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