Waking the Cobra by Baird Hersey Hersey Music, 1998 http://www.waking-the-cobra.com I've heard a lot of overtone-singing by Western vocalists lately. Ever since David Hykes and his "Harmonic Choir" brought this Central Asian technique to the world of pop and New Age music, imitations have sprung up wherever this music is made, both with choruses and solo voices - for instance, Innerstellar by Gordon Rhyne, which this album resembles. So my first impression when I received and heard this album was, "Oh please, not ANOTHER overtone singer." And I felt the same way about its theme of the "seven rainbow chakras," a Yogic system which has become a standard, indeed, a cliché, of New Age doctrine. "Not ANOTHER rainbow chakra album." I decided to forget the chakra theme and even the idea that this was vocalization, and just listen to it as I would listen to a "drone ambient" album done on synthesizers. How does it stack up simply as ambient sound? Well, after you get through the first few pieces, where Hersey is just crooning by himself, you find some interesting passages. Hersey multi-tracks himself like a Yogic Enya, and thus adds some pleasant harmonies to the otherwise stark drone sound. For instance, in track 14, "The Wheel," he multiplies his voice into a comforting choir of major-key chords. In other tracks, he can make his voice sound like a synthesizer (perhaps using a little electronic sound-manipulation there) and it creates a nice mystical atmosphere for those inner temple moments. Nevertheless, you will probably have to be a drone fan to like this album. And with drone sound, in my opinion even a little complexity is better than just one tone, so for me Hersey's multiplied "choral" tracks, that is 14, 15, 16, and 18, are the most listenable. The rest of the album (most of it) might be better for the ashram than the living room. Rating: 2 out of 10 Hannah M.G. Shapero 2/22/01
Walking the Cobra: Vocal Meditations on the Chakras is actually meditations by overtone singing, Baird Hersey. This is some exotic stuff. The qualities of overtone singing mimic synthesizers and electronic manipulations. But there are no manipulations. Tibetan cymbals are the only sounds other than Baird's voice. His voice is layered to allow for multiple tones and harmonies. It is a cool sound. It takes great personal dedication to achieve this sound. It also takes tremendous discipline to work the chakras. Baird has both. ~ Jim Brenholts, EER-MUSIC.com
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