Various Artists

Tranquility: Music for Yoga and Meditation

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It could be contended that the title to this compilation is misleading, for it consists not of music specifically composed and/or recorded for yoga and meditation, but of music from the Vanguard catalog that might lend itself to those activities. Oregon are the most heavily represented of the four artists, with 8 of the 14 tracks; the rest are older 1960s recordings of guitarists Peter Walker and John Fahey, and oud player Hamza El Din. The common ground? Well, all of them were combining folk music and world music to some extent, though Oregon were far more jazz in their orientation, and far more aligned with the sounds that would come to be classified as new age. Disregarding the yoga/meditation marketing flag of convenience under which all of the tracks have been assembled, this is pretty good music for serene, introspective moods, whether you engage in yoga and meditation or not. El Din, Walker, and Fahey have a more earthy, exotic edge, and draw more from non-Western traditions than Oregon do, which makes this in some ways less than the most comfortable match; it might have been better to make one volume all Oregon, and the other a comp of the three string players. Overall, however, it's considerably superior to much of the purer new age music used for yoga and meditation exercises, or simply for new age listening. The Walker and Fahey recordings, incidentally, were all done with accompanying musicians, not as solo pieces, though all of these are low-key and placid in mood.

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