Are you serious? I mean how come this is Kenneth’s first solo album! Such depth and intensity–he is a veteran of many births, it seems, and the universe has taken meaningful time to let the vision fructify. What a delight to listen to a compilation of flute music presented in such a stirring way!
Armed with a multi-genre approach, natural sounds, and vocal and instrumental effects of the guest artists, the songs are very touching, to say the least. I could feel a strange sense of joy as I listened to this music unfold in its beautiful variety.
Album Name: Directions
Artist Name: Kenneth Hooper
Total Time: 76:24
There are nine tracks in the album, and almost all, except one, are sufficiently long to let you slowly settle in the rhythm of the mood that every song presents.
Starting with a rich, multi-cultured approach, the title track opens with a Zen/Buddhist opening with a gong-like drum-sound (could be from an Udu) and moves towards more native American nature.
I was reminded of the Indian bamboo flute in “All Who Wander” before a very dreamy and playful rhythm took me dancing with ‘Trailblazers.’ Lots of percussions, strings, and winds in this one! ‘Springtime Dreaming’ continues with the same breezy-lightness, while the acoustic guitar becomes more prominent and lets you gently moves with its lilting notes.
‘Within’ is the first song on the album that does not have percussion sounds and the flute alone (accompanied by sounds from nature) carries you on an inward journey. Slow, steady, and sure–safely relieving you of encumbering weight and letting your self feel its own lightness. Very spiritual!
The mood continues with ‘Coming Home,’ and there is a strange kind of calm in the chords of the keyboard, which lets the flute float delicately with sonic waves, caressing your being with nimble notes. Very gentle!
The shortest piece, ‘Graceful Expanse’ is a horizon that calls you to unfurl yourself and let go–a soft invitation to ‘go with the flow.’
As a composer, Kenneth has chalked many moods in one album, and ‘From the Deep’ is a testimony of his confidence that he could handle a totally different theme (suspense, intrigue, and expansion) with poise and expertness. It is like an Indian Alaap, where the artist shows you the range of the presentation and what would be the basis of the artist’s concert. Relaxation, experimentation, and grace–all combined here!
Nature’s touch could be felt throughout the album, and the last and biggest song does not leave us wanting for it. One of the few things that first flash in one’s mind when the word ‘Omen’ is presented is the ravens. The song signs of an omen with the sounds of ravens, which are heralding a change–the change that is felt inside one’s being. Outside, you keep drawing water and cutting the wood, yet inside, you have found an unexplored oasis that invites you to saturate yourself with its untouched and virgin stillness. The sounds of different instruments and elements fuse with one another and create a calming effect. A very nice end to bring the album to close!
Kenneth has lots to offer to this world in terms of composition and allowing the listeners to dive deeper into their own depths as they let his music carry them. I am sure he will keep surprising us with his mastery!
|All Who Wander||08:15|
|From The Deep||11:44|
|Omens Of Change||12:17|