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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

AMIN: Sadhana (2007-2021)

A music with ethnic vibes, sometimes wild and sometimes sensual but always spiritual

1 Buddha Calls 17:07

2 Tuvan Dreams 7:58

3 Reunion 10:06

4 Mandala 3:19

5 Evening Meditation 19:33

6 Growing to Maria 5:50

(DDL 65:05) (V.F.)

(Meditative ambient music)

The German label SynGate finishes the year 2021 in strength with a month of October including reissues of old albums that went under the radar during their timid releases. In addition to Syndromeda's Mythical Pursuit, another of Danny Budts' characters is awarded a new reissue with no new material or remastering of his Amin project. Released on Syndromeda's label SinSyn in 2007, SADHANA lets heard the Belgian musician taking a contemplative bend with an album of Indian meditation. It is following the Sufi lessons, imported in Belgium by Hazrat Inayat Khan (India 1882 - 1927), that he released this album of pure oriental meditation under his Sufi name Amin. For 65 minutes, Syndromeda abandons the paths of Berlin School style of EM to embrace the effluvia of a music with ethnic atmospheres, sometimes wild and sometimes sensual but always spiritual.

Heavy layers of drone float with heaviness in the opening of Buddha Calls. Under these undulating layers, a soft melody pierces on arpeggios disguised like a harp's or guitar strings. This slow movement of pervasive solemnity is overlaid with hazy pads and a fluty melody that is blown by a mellotron as pious cymbals tinkle in a heavenly ambience. Poignant and strident, the mellotron's chant leads this meditative opening into the first tam-tams, around the 8th minute. Lascivious and sensual, this delicious dance of Hindu bohemians adopts the movement of its tribal percussions which accelerate the cadence until intoxicating the senses, whereas the fluty charms remain within reach of the ears. Very different from what Syndromeda usually presents, Buddha Calls is a superb musical ode à la Mind Over Matter, the Music for Paradise album, where relaxation meets unexpected musical beauty. Two Tibetan bells open the trails of the strange Tuvan Dreams. A long, droning, mournful tirade, like a giant bumblebee's lament, emerges with a throaty chant that melts its anger over a bewitchingly powerful percussive flow. An array of tribal instruments defend this guttural oration worthy of the shamans of the American West. Transcending a world of Steve Roach-like reverberations, but bolder and heavier, Amin lays down a rhythmic structure that accelerates the pace while weaving in those strident synth solos while other percussive effects ignite the dance of Tuvan Dreams that comes to a screeching halt 20 seconds before the 6-minute mark, leaving that throaty chant to lead us to a finale sounded by two spiritual bells.

Reunion also relies on these throat chants but in a slow cosmic blues structure. A new voice is added humming a text whose incantations of the singer marry the muffled momentum of the bass, adding even more to the charm of this track that is a kind of acoustic dance, except for the harmonies of the synth which are always high-pitched with a strong propensity for the tales of Aladin's 1001 nights. Exotic and bewitching, Reunion is a track that evolves with beauty and tenderness and whose arrangements, both rhythmic and melodic, of Danny Budts are superbly thought. Quite a contrast compared to Mandala which stands apart with a frantic rhythm structure in an atmosphere overexcited by these drones with sharp reverberations. Evening Meditation is the longest track on SADHANA. A meditative track that takes shape from a long quiet breath of the mellotron that sweeps across the desert plains and dunes with a faint oratorical hum that sculpts its gentle oscillations. Distant chants accompany this procession of quietude that continues its spiritual journey over its 20 minutes. Growing to Maria concludes with a more Western, New Age approach with a beautiful, sensitive and melodious piano, flavored with orchestral arrangements in tone and poignant choirs with very high vocals. A Vangelis-like Ave Maria that divinely ends an astonishing album of sweetness and spiritual charms of the Middle East.

Sylvain Lupari (October 23rd, 2021) *****

Available at SynGate Bandcamp

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