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CD Review: Sonic Garden 

Hudson Valley artists vocalist Davida, bassist Allen Murphy, and percussionist Ken Lovelett surround themselves in a creative cocoon and deliver Sonic Garden, a set of  “avant-new age” music. With only the three acoustic voices on three songs, notes are unbound by intricate, compressed layers of sound and each composition becomes a nude portrait, enticing because of their basic, exposed elements.

“Help-US-OPUS” is the 36-minute opener. As its theme gestates, it plays off of itself to find its next thread of ideas, elongating and thrusting itself, arclike, forward and back. Davida sounds as if she’s singing from the belly of a whale, its inner side walls reverberating as she sings, hums, and murmurs. Striking a familiar tone to bassist Ron Carter’s rendition of pianist John Lewis’s “Django,” “Davida’s Waltz” is anchored by Murphy’s plump plunking (coincidentally, Murphy has subbed for Carter). Davida’s wordless and sometimes breathy sounds convey a relaxed mood as the trio slides into “Murphy’s Blues.” A very present, but unfamiliar, instrument in Sonic Garden is the Busker. Like the vibraphone and piano, it’s a multitasker, creating rhythm and melody simultaneously. Mount Tremper resident Lovelett, who runs Sonart Studio and Sonart Gallery, fashioned the Busker on the vision of an English street performer. Sonic Garden is improvised thought and motion in a strictly pre-prescribed world. The hope in existing in both places is to find balance between the two. www.americanpercussion.com.

click to enlarge (2008, T.O.a.S Recordings)
  • (2008, T.O.a.S Recordings)

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