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Waterbone

Tibet

(Intentcity; US: 25 Feb 2003; UK: Available as import)

Wow. Someone pass the crackers, because this is cheese ball of the highest order. Think hard, if you will, to the Saturday Night Live skit featuring Will Farrel and Rachel Dratch as a pair of forty-something “lovers” who cannot keep their hands off of each other. They’re somewhat arty, somewhat haughty, but they’re very high brow and driven by lust. If you’ve ever wondered what people like that would listen to, I present to you Waterbone: Tibet.


I don’t think any soft-core pornography on the Playboy channel would sound any better than if it had the sensual beats of Waterbone in the background. The pounding synthesizer notes, with soft and dreamy chorus vocals in the background simultaneously cry out “late nite adult watching” and “Deep Forest rip off,” in a very breathy voice, of course.


You can listen along to Tibet in your head with me, if you try really hard. Think of the drum beat in that one Enigma song that was popular, like ten years ago. O.K., now take Deep Forest’s musical style, the synthesizers, chorus singers, and synthesized bass guitar, and add a heap of pomp and melodrama. Ahhh, now you can hear it, too.


So, let me take you a bit further into Waterbone’s deep forest of posturing and unoriginality. May I please quote their press release: “Whether traveling and recording with street musicians, joining a spiritual ceremony with Tibetan chanting monks, or capturing the essence of soaring flutes across the Himalayas, this musical companion will inspire, awaken, and invigorate the spirit.” I think that pretty much speaks for itself.


You may be wondering if I’m being too hard on Waterbone, and the answer is simply “no”. Waterbone employs monks, children, and townspeople from Nepal and Tibet on Tibet, and the singers on this record are absolutely fantastic. It’s what Waterbone does to these beautiful voices and people that makes me crazy. They totally marginalize the importance of their voices with stupid soft dance beats and watered down synthesizers; it’s the same reason why that remake of “A Little Less Conversation” by Elvis (the one with the dance beat) sounded so odd and wrong. Tibetan voices aren’t meant to be mixed with crappy dance beats! They’re much too regal and elegant sounding for that! Man, oh man! The second telling facet of this album lies in the almighty dollar.


The press sheet for this one notes that this is actually a re-release of 1998’s Tibet, and that the original sold over 100,000 copies! I would be willing to bet my copy of Tibet that those Tibetan singers didn’t seen a red cent from the ridiculous amount of sales from the original pressing of this. If I’m wrong, I’ll stand corrected, but I know I’m not, which just makes this already awful album sound even worse. My advice to anyone other than fans of new age: Avoid this one like the plague.

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