Incredible how Ancient Future as one of the first delvers into the genre succeeds in describing musically the world music fusion in its completeness. While before they varied more in different world music and contemporary fusion ideas, here the music is like traveling throughout the whole world, from one rhythm/county/world music genre to another with a basic structure. They now have become a perfect chamber world music band (basic nice rhythms, ethnic flutes and a fantastic acoustic guitars duo, enriched with various other acoustic instruments.
This band counts 19 members all mastering in their world music starting point from Indian, Nepalese, African, Cuban, Celtic ,Middle Eastern, Indonesian, Chinese, East European and American world fusion music origins, and some female accompanying vocals. A beautiful release to travel the world, a listening experience without leaving your starting place.
Anc.-Future.com Rec. Ancient Future : Natural Rhythms (US/INDO,..,1981,rev.2005)****'
This album, which was reissued last year, was one of the first world music blending fusions. The year before this recording Mathew Montfort and Mindia Klein travelled to Bali to study gamelan music. Noticing the relationship between the natural environment and Balinese music they started make recordings of gamelans, frogs and crickets as a fundament for their own acoustic blend. This fundament of rooting into the essence of the ‘natural environment’ as a source for music, and world music, couldn’t be a stronger choice as an essence for inspiration, especially not when the participating musicians were all also gifted to improvise very well together, and having been pupils with important world music teachers (like sarod master Ali Akhbar Khan, tabla masters Alla Rakha and Zakir Hussain, sarangi master Ram Narayan, flute master G.S.Sachdev, vina master K.S.Subramanian, world jazz trumpetist Don Cherry and gamelan master Pak Sini). Lots of the compositions have a fundament of acoustic guitar and flute improvisation, with tabla besides other participations, creating extremely moody melodic compositions. More than once you can notice the original core of their inspirations. Especially “Frogorian Dance” with a kind of jungle-recalling rhythms fit perfectly with the small animal sounds, who almost sound to be adapted as if they’re musical reactions. Also on “Valley of the moon” the frogs more than being the background sounds almost seem to lead the music. Brilliant, and fitting perfectly with the album cover.
This album cover was done by a local Balinese artist who was inspired by the concept. He did not want to get money for it, but afterwards the cover received a best cover award for a world music release in the US, and there are several other connecting stories.
A highly recommended CD. (See also remarks on playlist)
-Participants were Matthew Montfort (scalloped fretboard guitar, classical guitar, gangsa, kukul, tinklik, beer can, sitar and zither), Mindia Klein (flute, bansuri, gangsa and tinklik), Benjy Wertheimer (tabla, beer can, esraj, and hand claps), Phil Fong (sarod and classical guitar), Kazuyo Muramoto (koto), Teja Bell (12-string guitar), ayan Ludra (kukul), Nyomen Kawiana (kajar), Christina Harmonia (vocal), Jim Loveless (marimba), Jeroen van Tyn (violin), Mark Fuller (cymbal), Balinese rice paddy frogs and Pacific tree frogs.-
PS. Matthew Montfort : "I should let you know that the reason the Pacific tree frogs sound as though they are leading on Valley of the Moon, and the reason that the calls of the Balinese rice paddy frogs sound as if they are musical reactions is because that is exactly what happened. These aren't sample/loop frog computer creations (that wasn't possible then, and the fact that it is possible now isn't leading in most cases to better music): we actually played live with the frogs. In the case of Valley of the Moon there are no overdubs and that is exactly the music that was made at the pond live. In the case of the Balinese frogs, we used the frog/percussion tracks as basic tracks and did some overdubs. But the musical interaction in both cases was real."