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Various Artists

Caravan of Light

(Lua Productions; US: 9 Oct 2007; UK: Available as import)

“Caravan of Light, a project honouring the sacred element of fire,” says the back of the box, among stylized pictures of flames and flowers. This looks like New Age territory. Is it? Well, it is. We are given mystic woodwind, sitars, Buddhist chants, Tibetans, yearning voices. Omar Faruk Tekbilek, a musician who skirts the borderland between folk ney and New Age drift, appears in a “Ramasutra remix”, and Piki Chappell does a likeable job of remixing the Rajasthani group Maharajah. (The human mind isn’t the only thing that New Age spirituality wants to enhance. If there was ever a musical movement that loved its dub remixes, it’s this one.) The album moves forward in loping surges: dreamy, druggy, entranced. Caravan is pleasant, but it’s disingenuous of them to tell us that we have forgotten how to honor “the sacredness of Fire” and then neglect to mention Zoroastrianism, a religion that uses the element prominently in its devotions. Coy references to “the Spirit of Zarathustra… awakening the voice of the feminine essence of Fire” and musical allusions to the religion’s heartland Iran don’t really cut it.

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