This is an interesting mix of electronic dance music fused with various traditional song forms from Tibet (with a bit from Nepal and Thailand, as well). Waterbone is actually a pair of American artists, Kendall Jones and Jimmy Waldo, who simply composed bits and pieces of song motifs before traveling to the Himalayas to record the bulk of the album's material. A few of the pieces are pre-composed works for synthesizers, drum machines, and flutes, but the majority is a synthesis of synthesizer and drum loops with recordings of the native musicians. While the performers from the various schools, temples, and street corners are all enjoyable, the excitement here comes from the fusion between the old vocal and modern technological music forms. The vocalists range from young female singers of Bangkok to ancient monks of Katmandu. The seamless transitions from one to another and the delicate fusion with electronica make the album worth hearing. Mixing Asian vocals with electronica is hardly anything new (especially since the success of Enigma's "Return to Innocence"), with notable albums in the vein coming from any number of Asian dub groups, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, and a lump of single singers enhancing their own abilities from throughout the continent. Any of these can compete with this Waterbone album, and, musically, many might outdo it, as Tibet stays relatively conventional in its ways as far as electronica goes. Give it a listen as a solid album, but look elsewhere for the groundbreaking sounds.
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AllMusic Review by Adam Greenberg