Michael Atherton

Abundance

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When you get right down to it, there are really only two types of music lovers: those who seek only the immediate gratification of a steady beat and a catchy hook, and those who see music as a journey of exploration, willing to wander its myriad pathways out of the simple curiosity to see where they will lead. Abundance is definitely more appropriately recommended for the latter, as shakuhachi flute master James Ashley Franklin and multi-instrumentalist/composer Michael Atherton improvise dreamy, ambient epics with a pancultural influence. Songs like the ten-minute "Steppe Dance" and the 13-minute "Groves of Bronze" won't exactly get the listener's feet tapping, but patient listening is rewarded with meditative serenity and gorgeous melodies that set the heart soaring, providing a welcome respite from the mindless drudgery of three-chord rock and 4/4 beats.

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