Best Albums of 2019: J. Rowe ‘Channels of the Lake’

Channels of the Lake (Sounds of the Dawn)

The Detroit-based Sounds of the Dawn started life in 2012 as a blog sharing rips of mostly out-of-print new age and relaxation cassettes from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. Then it became a label releasing new music, part of the revival of authentic new age sounds with a progressive bent. At least two of its releases to date – by Hybrid Palms (Russia) and Alex Crispin (UK) – are outstanding examples of 21st century new age. Now joining them is this fantastic solo debut of Detroit percussionist and synthesist J. Rowe. The two long pieces on Channels of the Lake have a feel that’s not far from the more meditative passages of the often raucous proggy jazz-rock of his duo Westerbur & Rowe. “South Channel” builds superbly, starting with a quiet passage of shimmering gongs and Tibetan bells, then joined by droning harmonium, mellotron and a slow tribal pulse that slowly morphs into a sweet, jazzy groove with vibes and flute. “North Channel” is dominated by bells, gongs and tribal percussion, see-sawing between serene and uptempo, a spiritual cousin to the great kosmische jams of early-70’s Popol Vuh and Santana.

Best Albums of 2019 Reviews Index

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