Shaman Drums

James Asher

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Shaman Drums Review

by Heather Phares

James Asher's Shaman Drums gathers some of his best fusions of world music, electronica, and new age, including "Camel Train," "Red Rhythm Dragon," and "Send in the Drums." The collection concentrates on later work such as both volumes of Feet in the Soil and Tigers of the Raj, and as with all of Asher's albums, boasts an impressive amount of musical globetrotting, spanning the African influences of "Standing Ngoma," the previously unreleased, Indian-inspired "Amma" (which also features master drummer Sivamani), and the Middle Eastern flair of "Temple Gates." Likewise, Asher's pieces vary in how much Western instrumentation they feature -- "Tantango" is almost entirely electronic, while the synths and drum machines only play supporting parts in songs like the chant and percussion-based "Janjara." While someone new to Asher's work would be just as well served by any of the albums this compilation is culled from, Shaman Drums does an admirable job of collecting and sequencing the highlights of Asher's music, making it the ideal starting point.

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