Levi Chen

Meditation of My Soul

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Levi Chen's first album, Liquid Gardens Tao, featured the artist on just the solo electric guitar. On Meditation of My Soul, Chen expands his musical expression by adding the Chinese gu cheng, a Chinese harp similar to the Japanese koto. The gu cheng adds an Oriental twang, not to mention musical scale, to the album. Chen has experimented greatly with the reverb and sustain possibilities of his Fender Stratocaster guitar (circa 1976), and he can manipulate it in such a way that he can play both instruments at once. As he writes in the liner notes: "No synthesizers. No samplers. No overdubs." Appreciate this feat going in, because you will lose yourself in Chen's heady music in no time. The Fender carries resonant, echoing drones, sultry and watery phrases, and passionate pleas to the universe. The gu cheng sound offers waves of dulcimer-like ripples and wise commentary on the dynamic lines of Chen's guitar. After you regain your senses, you can wonder again...just how did he do that? Perhaps he can play with his toes.

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