Jens Gad

Le Spa Sonique

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In the early '90s, a band called Enigma made an international name for itself by combining laid-back club beats, Gregorian chant, and whispered French sex talk into a massive dance music hit called "Sadeness." Founding member Jens Gad is working on his own 15 years later, exploring a more specifically meditational mode. Le Spa Sonique offers exactly what its name implies: smooth, soothing music designed to help you relax and "experience your own personal spa retreat." Gad is no goopy new age hack, at least not most of the time: his beats may be gentle, but if you listen closely they're fairly complex, and there are clear hints of a sharp musical intellect buried in the cottony softness. Notice, for example, the heavily distorted vocal that brings a welcome edge to "Navajo," and the beautifully arranged female vocals that are layered lusciously throughout "Cape Blanc." On the other hand, he's also not completely immune to the call of goopiness, as the saccharine faux-choral passages on "Glass Palace" make clear. Overall, though, Le Spa Sonique does a good job of balancing the purely utilitarian requirements of meditational music with the more visceral attractions of pop music. Recommended.

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