A large scale orchestra of Bolivian high school students on traditional instruments plays pieces largely from the contemporary classical/new age field. A small group of string players doubling as instructors comprise the leaders of the sections in a number of ethereal works. The pieces are largely filled with empty space intermixed with ambient tones on a large field of flutes. The album opens on a light work in tribute to Picasso, then moves into the title track, based on a work by Borges. More ambient tracks for the large flutes follow, working from poetry and instrumentally questioning the conquest of the Americas by the Spanish. This is large-ensemble new age at its emptiest. Fans of traditional Andean music will be sorely disappointed by the mishmash of sounds and the complete lack of rhythm, while fans of new age might find themselves disappointed by the tendency for the group to go severely off key. Unless specifically interested in the concept, avoid this album.
The Doctrine of Cycles Review
by Adam Greenberg