Dwelling in the Desert

24 08 2007

Desert Dwellers

By Derek Beres

With the social and economic explosion that yoga has caused in America, it is rather surprising that an industry that has become as much lifestyle as practice – with a virtual flooding of yogic clothing, nutrition, DVDs and supplies – has not properly tapped into the music market. This is not to say there have not been attempts, but outside of someone like Krishna Das, who is performing a minor, and appreciated, tweaking of an old art form (kirtan), little is evolving the scene.

Hence the disastrous calamity known as “lounge” music meshing with sitars, tablas and high-pitched Indian women (or bluesy, over-emotional Westerners) singing about this god or that. Now, devotion is a personal affair, and this brand of bhakti yoga is more than acceptable on an individual level. (“If you can speak, you can sing…”) But we’re talking about producing records, and in that case it’s easy to see why the culture within the culture is wearing blinders. The goddess may have many arms, but those arms are distinct and used for specific reasons, and if not developed properly the entire body will not become fit.

For many years, as a yoga instructor and music journalist, I’ve searched for complete albums that accomplish this task. I’ll find a song here, a couple there, music that works on many levels: in the headphones, in the midst of a Vinyasa yoga class, and just for general chilling. I knew the possibility existed, but every time I came across something promising there was always some element carrying it into the unforgivable terrain of “New Age.” While men like Krishna Das and Benjy Wertheimer have been making consistently amazing acoustic music, I wanted something with bass, endowed with a bottom end that would lay foundations for what an electronic yoga would entail.

Then I received these two discs.

To read the full review on EthnoTechno, click here.

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