Lotus

Lotus

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AllMusic Review by

The raSa Music label endeavors to cultivate a cosmic, spiritual/sexual ambience exploring the concept of yearning for, and uniting with the beloved, and blurring the distinctions between sexual and religious ecstasy. It is no accident that much of the label's music has a strong East Indian and Indonesian influence, as the art and poetry of these cultures often use sexual union as a metaphor for religious awakening -- or more literally, as a kind of religious awakening in itself. This vision is captured almost perfectly by the ethnic techno-pop of Lotus, which is masterminded by producer, composer, arranger, and musician Jimmy Harry. He is assisted by female vocalist Alex Edenborough on most tracks, who delivers vague but suggestively sensual lyrics without degenerating into the narrow-focus licentiousness of booty-shakin' and gettin' it on (or up). Thankfully, the vocal content also avoids the opposite tendency, often found in Persian, East Indian, and Ba'hai poetry, of drowning the listener in a sea of perfume, an experience not altogether congenial to more prosaic Western temperaments. Keyboards, electric and acoustic guitars, live gamelan gongs (not samples!), and some up-tempo percussive energy are balanced against Edenborough's sultry vocals, and while the lyrics are seldom profound, they don't call undue attention to themselves and certainly help establish the mood. Sampled and live chanting (the latter by a male individual simply identified as Widga) contributes additional rhythmic and melodic textures, and adds to the exotic quality of the music. Appropriation of traditional materials is often criticized as a kind of cultural desecration, but Lotus deflects that charge by virtue of its spiritual aspirations. This disk will appeal, especially to hip, worldly adults with romance in their souls as well as lust in their hearts. The blend of ethnic elements, techno touches, and smoldering emotion on Lotus is fully realized and highly satisfying. Recommended.

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