Artist: David Parsons
Album: Parikrama

Label: Celestial Harmonies

Parikrama   David Parsons
World Music: the self-conscious grafting of non-western classical elements to form an original yet familiar music.

The current crop of innovative offerings out of the electronic music community often incorporate elements of "World Music" into their aesthetic values. 4th World Music as well as the nascent Tribal Ambient can trace their roots back to this idea of borrowing sounds and approaches from the Earth's varied cultures. Parikrama, the double CD from David Parsons, does draw on ideas and sounds from exotic lands, but the album has less to do with the theoretical than it does with the empirical.

Parsons is one of the few musicians who have physically covered as much geography as his music has. He has actually traveled to many a far off land, compiled recorded accounts of indigenous music and soaked in the local colour and overall influences of different societies. Parikrama is a somber journey inward and exposes the breadth of Parsons' vast experience.

The pieces on Parikrama are lengthy and slow to develop. Parsons' ever-evolving electronic drones are both absorbing and harmonically interesting. The reflective and contemplative nature of pieces like "Inward Journey" seems almost ceremonial. The bowed strings of "Darshan" offer focus and melody. "Devourer of Worlds", with its pensive mood, recurring chants and driving percussion, adds contrast while the peaceful "Manasarovar II" (meaning "lake of the mind") looks back to 1990's Yatra and gently concludes the album.

David Parsons is a true native of World Music. On Parikrama he has realized an album that feels like a companion on a sonic voyage into the wisdom and insight gained by this well traveled artist.

- Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END   19 December 2000

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