Constance Demby

Light of This World

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Light of this World: The Best of Constance Demby offers a sampler of the music of the "queen of spacemusic" from her 1978 Skies above Skies through the 1986 masterpiece Novus Magnificat; two bonus tracks were written for this compilation album. The title track opens the album, an inspiring and brash pop vocal piece (Demby sounds remarkably like Bette Midler) with female backup vocals, hot drums, electric guitar emulator, and bass. The title track from Demby's 1980 Sunborne also showcases Demby's voice, but in her more cosmic and chantlike mode. The instrumentation is vast -- organ sounds, trap set, piano -- a sound fit for the birth of galaxies. The exhilarating "Flying Bach" from Novus Magnificat features some fancy organ work with sampled chorus and orchestra. "Radiance" from Sacred Space Music offers an organ drone with the sparkling tones of the hammered dulcimer. Overhead, Demby vocalizes like an angel. "The Dawning" from Sunborne showcases Demby's enormous Sonic Steel Instruments, the Space Bass and the Whale Sail. Demby's 1994 live album, Constance Demby at Alaron, is represented by two pieces, "The Chakoor Bird" (on which Demby plays the resonant Chinese cheng) and "Gurudev Aja," an exotic synthesizer piece with drone. Demby's first album, Skies Above Skies, is represented by two devotional prayers, "OmManiPadmeHum" (radiant piano and organ drone) and "God Is" (a mystical work for organ). "Sanctus" ends the album, a radiant new piece brimming with chimes and gongs. None of the pieces here tops seven minutes (the pieces may last to a half hour in the original versions), but I could not sense any had been cut. A lot of albums claim "best of"; this one delivers. Demby is a visionary musician, and this album should whet your appetite for more.

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