Whether you define Lucia Hwong's instrumental music as new age, electronica, ambient or world music -- and perhaps it's all of those things -- Goddess Awakening, Vol. 1 is as evocative as it is intriguing. New age, to be sure, has its detractors, who see a lot of it as bloodless and mindless, turn-your-brain-off muzak. But this CD is far from bloodless, and it's way too substantial, creative, and interesting to be called muzak. Hwong, a Chinese-American who plays synthesizers and various ethnic instruments, takes her share of chances, combining electronic rhythms with Asian, Middle Eastern, and African elements. Calling Goddess Awakening, Vol. 1 electronica is valid because synthesizers, drum machines, and the like are a big part of her sound. Yet she also uses a variety of acoustic instruments extensively, and this CD finds Hwong and her sidemen playing instruments that range from the Japanese shakuhachi (a very recognizable bamboo flute) and Tibetan bells to the berimbau (a Brazilian string instrument) and the mbira (one of Africa's top thumb pianos). However you categorize Goddess Awakening, Vol. 1, this album demonstrates that thinking globally is no problem for Hwong.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson