Peter Kater

10 Questions for the Dalai Lama [Original Score]

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This score by Colorado-based composer Peter Kater is ethnically nonspecific in the way that new age music sometimes is; some of it originated on an album of Native American flute music. That was put together with earlier recordings of Tibetan chanting and new music to make up the 11 (not 10) selections recorded here. The music consists of slow melodies in various modes, vocal or instrumental, over a backdrop furnished by Kater himself on the piano with a few other accents. Several highlights recommend the soundtrack for those residing outside its spiritual target market. One is the Tibetan Buddhist chanting of Tulku Orgyen, a rich, multifaceted thing that's not easy to hear elsewhere in such sonic detail. And the reason he comes through so clearly has to do with the second highlight: the engineering of the music, accomplished in Kater's own home studio. This recording is an extravaganza of carefully balanced multitrack recording in which the subtlest details -- the overtones of a Native American flute, the extremely gentle tones of a set of Tibetan bowls -- are not compromised in the least. Sample the final strains of track 4, "A Fresh Wind," or any of "Buddha Search" (track 5) in a high-fidelity environment to hear what Kater is capable of. Heard in a quiet room, this music might bring enlightenment to engineering wonks as well as to Buddhists.

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