U. Srinivas

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Dream Review

by Tim DiGravina

Just what Michael Brook was thinking when he went into the studio with U. Srinivas and a number of talented performers from across the globe is a mystery. Instead of utilizing the fine talents of Srinivas, Nigel Kennedy, Jane Siberry, and the other players, he created a bland ambient tapestry of electronic boredom. The electric mandolin of Srinivas was recorded properly, it sounds both stinging and melodic, but Brook doesn't allow the other players to create interesting background noise. Instead, he incorporates buzzing sounds and dull samples into an unremarkable stab at dark experimentalism. The music is quiet and sometimes meditative, but Brook tries to create tension with underlying studio effects, thereby destroying sounds that would otherwise be quite peaceful. The players all seem to be noodling around, as all four songs sound so random in their creation, that it becomes clear Brook was either overwhelmed with the assignment or simply out of ideas to make a compelling album. Brook's liner notes read like both an apology and a blueprint for what went wrong: he went too far with his sampler and didn't know how to piece together the disparate playing of his collaborators. His collaborations with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Djivan Gasparyan are glorious compared with his work here. Dream is a huge disappointment for all parties involved.

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