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Real World - Carol 2356-2
The last in her Real World minimalist phase, this one is the best: a deep exploration of the inner regions of drones, subtle audio hallucinations seized and realised as vocal lines over a dense, overtone-rich mosaic of didg, tamboura, guitar, and sustained vocal tones.
Sheila Chandra has been rightly praised by various ambient gurus as an essential formative influence and creative force. Not to mention that samples of her sublime voice can be found here, there, and everywhere. Isn't that a Sheila Chandra sample as the lead voice on the first Synaesthesia cut (on their first full-length)? Anyway, the Indi-Pop recordings are good fun, but hardly ambient. The RealWorld recordings, along with the re-releases of certain earlier titles (especially "Quiet"), are pure ambient ecstasy. This record, Sheila's third on RealWorld, may be the most ambient yet. It follows in the tradition of the previous records, "Weaving My Ancestors' Voices" and "The Zen Kiss". Anyone who enjoys the likes of Natacha Atlas, Banco de Gaia's ambient cuts, or Loop Guru, would do well to check out this incredibly talented and prolific young vocalist and musician. One of the best voices of any style. This record consists of six numbered tracks, each one built on a complex and multi-layered drone. "All drones played or sung by Sheila Chandra and Steve Coe". Additional instrumentation includes guitar harmonics, wood and metal didgeridoo (don't scream; it's actually tastefully utilized here), and bagpipe drones. The Indian influence is omnipresent - unclear whether the Indian instrumentation is authentic or sampled or synthed. No beats. Previous records often featured rhythms. The Indi-Pop recordings often featured modernized clubby beats with the traditional Indian tablas. The later records went more for the pure traditional percussion. This one features no percussion, and in this case it seems to be the right artistic decision. Beats would only detract from the hypnotic effect of this perfect sound. Lush and entrancing. Highly recommended.
Reviewer: Zenon M. Feszczak