Sanctum – Various Artists

Album Review by Mark Bayross

Music Mosaic releases are usually guaranteed to relax the spirit and open the mind (see, I’m talking new age bollocks already!) but SANCTUM probably takes the prize for the most chilled of the chilled so far.

Moving at a very s-l-o-w pace, artists like Kamal, Erik Berglund and Michael Reimann employ everything from synthesisers and harps to Benedictine Monks to create pieces of chilly, atmospheric calm.

Unlike other Music Mosaic albums, most of the inspiration comes from closer to home than the usual African, South American and Asian continents. Apart from Tarshito’s Nepal-inspired NAGARKOT, the music here is either dream-like ambience of indeterminate origin or early European chamber music.

So, alongside Michael Reimann’s aforementioned AMEN, recorded at the Koenigsmunster Benedictine Monastery in Germany, there’s the Air Ensemble’s O SUCCESSORES, a modern arrangement of a chant by Hildegard von Bingen (a medieval German nun), Chloe Goodchild’s ALILO (a Georgian Christmas song) and the Ensemble Tbilisi’s male choral recital of the sacred hymn SHEN KHAR VENAKHI from Kakhety in East Georgia.

As you’ve probably gathered, this is serene, reflective music in its most minimalist form, but – aside from Deva Premal’s closing SAMMASATI, which veers dangerously close to muzak – I defy anyone not be soothed by its gracefulness or bowled over by its beauty.

4 stars

Share