Personnel: Wade Imre Morissette (vocals, acoustic guitar); Krishna Das (vocals); David Nichtern (acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Wynne Paris (sarod); Steve Gorn (bansuri, saxophone); Kevin Bents (keyboards); Mark Egan (bass guitar); Matt Kilmer (percussion); Kodomo (programming).
For his third outing, Wade Morissette collaborates with award-winning producer David Nichtern and creates what is at once a more accessible record than his previous works (in terms of the genre influences) and the next natural progression in his musical arc. Gone is the pop sheen of Strong as Diamonds -- replaced by more of a world music sound. The album stakes out its territory right away with the catchy worldbeat opener, "Guru Ma," an anthemic chant shared with world music hero Krishna Das (who also shows up on the album's best track). Morissette is still concerned with the consciousness-opening transcendent power that music has in long-form chants (he has crafted a modern version of kirtan chant music for much of this record). Whether the chant is a mantra repeated in English or some other tongue, Morissette and producer Nichtern play with the levels and layers of sound in a way that creates what can only be described as a "world/yoga" record. The synth programming washes that defined Strong as Diamonds have been replaced by instruments like the Bansuri flute (on "Inside") and the sarod. The album's standout track is "Burn It on the Fire," which sounds somewhat like an Us-era Peter Gabriel number -- and is buoyed by guest vocals by Krishna Das and a marvelous female singer named Manorama -- whose voice just happens to bear an uncanny resemblance to that of Morissette's twin sister, Alanis. The album closer is the haunting "OM," which literally has the ability to transcend and the production to match. Yet another quality record, and quite an achievement that Wade Morissette continues to find new and interesting ways to explore a territory that is uniquely his own. ~ Tomas Mureika
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