Gary Stroutsos

Pacific Moon

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    5
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The flutist's greatest strength on this meditative recording is the way he mixes so many different flutes -- altus alto flute, bamboo, flute, rattan bass flute, and wood flute. He also blends his own musings with haunting atmospheres and exotic instrumentation like the koto, tabla drums, waterphone, and wind chimes. He explains that the recording was inspired by time spent on the coast of Northwest Oregon, near Falcon Cove Beach. He talks about the rocks, surf, and elements of nature making this a place of serenity, but the lack of interesting melodic or rhythmic movement on pieces like "Afternoon Wave" and "Twilight" make listeners imagine the fog more than anything. His music certainly achieves the tranquility he desires, but he's more interested apparently in surrounding listeners with ambience than touching their hearts with anything of lasting melodic value. He attempts to make the first eight pieces into an entire suite, from "Dawn" to "Morning Wave" and ending with "Silent Wave," but each piece more or less runs into the next. On the other hand, not all new age performers are out to create legendary hits and so that would make Gary Stroutsos very much in line with guest keyboardist John Serrie, master of space music. Fine to listen to if you want to relieve tension in your life, but not too much else.

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