Review of Karmic Dreams by BlueMonk and Michael Whalen
Technology. Irony. Creativity. Willingness. Industriousness. Mind-control.
Imagine these terms as the accompanying artists of an album, for it was not an ordinary set of circumstances that led to the birth of this music. The technology enabled BlueMonk from Malaysia to send music to Michael in New York City who was ironically down with a ‘mild’ case of the dreaded Covid-19. Yet creativity finds its beauty if there is a willingness to pursue it. Then you need hell lot of an industrious nature to get up and create music, though in such a situation one would even not like to get up to brush one’s teeth. And to top it all, you have to have a great mind-control to overpower the drag of body, which is asking you to leave everything and lie down.
Before we begin to marvel at the musical beauty of this album, we need to acknowledge the effort that went in. Inspiring, indeed!
Album Name: Karmic Dreams
Artist (s) Name: BlueMonk and Michael Whalen
Total Time: 36:56
There are seven tracks on the album. The very first breath into the flute and you are transported to somewhere in East Asia–the particular sound and crispness of the Japanese Shakuhachi invite you to a unique Zen experience. “The Secret Garden” is a scenic expression of virgin nature (untouched by humankind), and asks you to come out of your quarantined self and marvel the beauty that your mind can project. The tempo makes it quite catchy and at 3:40s, the flute goes for an amazing improvisation sortie.
Mysticism is all you can think of when you tune to “The Way of the Samurai,” which also happens to be the longest track. As obvious from the name itself, it has a tremendous meditative touch. The first vocal sound of ‘Om’ sets the mood right in. The notes of the keyboard remind you of Japanese Koto and make you believe you are sitting in a remote thatched hut in front of a celebrated Samurai who is deep into meditation–you are almost inclined to believe that there’s an incense-stick burning around. So powerful is the aura of this song! It takes your imagination and paints a palpable sonic picture.
The impact of the previous song was so much that when I listened to “Cherry Blossom Heart,” there was hardly any emotion, though the sound of bells at the beginning is quite uniquely created before the flute shows its beauty and range. Truly a melody that lets you lose yourself in it.
“Moon Scape” is what I would call an ambient offering where the electronic sounds take center-stage as the flute offers layers of flight. It has the pep of a more space-like experience.
“The Trance” is a magical piece indeed. It is deep, powerful, and full of impact. Unlike the usual connotation that you might have with the word ‘trance,’ where you break into some kind of involuntary movements or dynamism, it is a very grounding one. Soft and light, yet carrying the power of transformation. Pity, it happens to be the smallest track in terms of time length!
The next track of the album is “Boundless Love.” It is the second-longest track and offers the vastness that you could imagine associated with the word ‘love.’ It seems this is where the artists have provided the full range of their instruments.
The title and the last song of the album, “Karmic Dreams,” has a unique element of intrigue–the eagerness of the heart as if something good, something auspicious is about to happen. Imagine the pandemic receding! At 1:56s, the mood changes to have a subtle celebratory undertone, before the life returns to the peaceful state of normalcy.
The songs have a concept. There is a purpose. There is a theme and effort. This music is meaningful!
Kudos to the duo–BlueMonk and Michael have come up with a unique offering that can help the listeners shut away the negativity that is reaching them from all corners.
If there is no immediate emergency, put your headphones on and forget yourself. The ‘Karmic Dreams’ call you to a world of their own!
|The Secret Garden||04:52|
|The Way of the Samurai||07:21|
|Cherry Blossom Heart||05:50|