For all the intricate melodic, percussive, and exotic cultural textures that Yulara weaves into their seductive, musical mosaics, the Berlin-based duo of keyboardist Robert Matt and flutist/saxophonist Anne Hilsberg have a surprisingly simple overall philosophy. "We think of our music as trying to build bridges, not only between musical styles, but also to the higher self within," says Hilsberg. A calling to which Matt adds, "In our world, there is a hut for everyone." Those seductive, hospitable, and global- and spiritual-minded musical dwellings have provided the foundation for Yulara's success over the past decade, with three internationally acclaimed Higher Octave Music releases whose titles convey universal purposes: All Is One (1994), Cosmic Tree (1998), and Future Tribe (2000). Each recording plays like a globe-trotting journey of the heart and spirit. Yulara's fourth album functions as a greatest-hits-plus collection, celebrating both the evolution of Matt and Hilsberg's fascinating, ever-ambitious partnership, and their ongoing creative fruits by taking glimpses both backward and forward. The 14 tracks include four from All Is One, two from Cosmic Tree, and six from Future Tribe, in addition to two brand-new pieces: the cool and soulful "City of Joy," which features the exotic strains of acoustic guitar, Hilsberg's wistful soprano sax and beautiful wordless vocals; and the classical-meets-R&B-flavored title track, with Hilsberg's gentle flute melody floating above a lush string quartet, and a retro/soul/groove foundation as nature sound effects swirl on by.
AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran