Starting with mere cricket whispers that crescendo to a glorified choir of Tibetan monks, the opening piece, "Mantra," is technically an electronic piece (utilizing a seemingly endless supply of Satoh's own voice) that is wholly organic in nature. The F note washes over the listener like a rich tide of drones that the composer builds on for 23 minutes, inducing a trance-like state. One item of note: this piece is featured twice as a theme to the original soundtrack of Ron Fricke's beautiful film Baraka (not to be missed), and it's deceptively simple structure coaxes the ear into a meditative state. What follows is a slightly more traditional composition, "Stabat Mater," a piece for choir that inches its way tensely through several movements, interjected by stabs of sound from versatile members of the "Pro Arte Chorale." A mostly quiet and beautiful trilogy in its own right, but less original than the first. If anything, one would hope for an extended rearrangement of "Mantra" for an independent and essential re-release, because it's that good by itself.
Mantra/Stabat Mater Review
by Ken Tataki
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