REVIEW: Sozra - "The Earth Space Continuum"

By Mike Ventarola

Chain Border

The Earth Space ContinuumAfter the last few writing assignments, certainly reviewing yet another instrumental piece was not high on my list of things to do this week. This notion was quickly challenged and negated from the moment this CD was put into the player and the headset was properly adjusted. For those seeking traditional Goth fare, this will not suffice for your musical repertoire. However, for those with a penchant for ingenious musical landscapes that create harmony beyond mere new age fodder, then take note.

Sozra opens the Earth side with haunting Native American flutes suffused through odd sounds and instrumental moans. Immediately, the listener is aware that this is not going to be a standard recording. Thunderstorms are interspersed, grabbing our attention and giving rise to a 3 dimensional quality. Multiple percussive instruments are employed, providing an arcane, old world feel, which gently cascades towards a rising ancient Egyptian scenario by the second uninterrupted track.

Each track could stand alone, however they were formatted for a continuous play to enable the listener to see and feel texture and color through the momentum of sound. It is important to note that there are no drum machines or midi components utilized for this creation. In effect, we are taken through a journey of time where the Earth meets Space. The frequent use of water and nature sounds derives an otherworldly quality that is not cheesy in the least. In fact, they emphasize a transition between night and day time visionary experiences.

Despite the fact that the first section is entitled Earth, there is a harmonious blend that simply equates the spiritual element of the Earthbound matter. From arid backdrops to verdant mountainsides, each element is crafted within a blend of sound, careening on the span of a note, taking the spirit essences that are invisible to the naked eye into a more concrete habitat. Those with a leaning towards Earth religions will simply marvel at the ingenuity that gives rise to an elemental world, often ignored by modern society.

The Space section starts out with simple notes, similar to a signal device in search of cosmic intelligence. This segues into a panorama of ancient Egyptian with Medieval hints, tying together the Einstein theory that all time is cyclical and not linear as we often assume as Earthbound entities.

Thunderstorms are heard yet again, but are accompanied with the gushing winds of an endless spatial vortex. Unlike other interpretations of space, Sozra gives this element a denser construct of planetary matter coalescing from the dawn of time. The sound builds upon the parameter of all elements merging to create form in the void. Underneath all the activity, there is a thread of mysticism and spirit, coaxing and gently guiding all these forms of matter.

During August 1992, Sozra had embarked on a visionary gallery opening where they combined music and video art. At the forefront was a large blank canvas, where 6 artists dressed in black took to painting this canvas, connecting Sozra's theory that sound, color and creation truly are interconnected. For more information on this project, go to http://www.sozra.com/ssp.html.

In the aftermath of the New Age movement, prevalent some years back, many artists who explored this vision of sound and texture seemed to have been lost in the commercialization of this art form. In spite of some of the crass exploitation capitalized by many of these new age labels, some artists still held tenaciously to their vision and chose not to become a part of the plethora of mediocrity passing itself off as "new age."

Sozra's gifts come from the utilization of the various instruments heard on the Earth section of this recording. The Space section did utilize keyboards to a large extent, which at times seemed to create an unnecessary redundancy in an otherwise brilliant composition. This is forgiven since there were other elements of sound also involved, which helped to create a meditative introspection. Keyboards are always tricky, simply because each passing year, another element of synthesized hybrid sound is created, so those utilizing earlier technology often find themselves and their work "dated," which has been the bane of many New Age music detractors for some time.

For a soothing, reflective and meditative journey, Sozra's The Earth Space Continuum delivers a pleasant backdrop for introspective work.

Contact Information:
Post: Sozra Music Group, P.O. Box 4, Union Bridge, MD, 21791
Phone: (301) 845-7148
E-Mail: sozra@pipeline.com
Web: http://www.sozra.com

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