INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
Songlines JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2016 - by Nigel Williamson
LARAAJI - AMBIENT 3: DAY OF RADIANCE
Not so much world music as otherworldly, the reissue of the album Brian Eno produced in 1980 for the American New Age mystic and zither player Laraaji is highly welcome. Discovered by Eno one evening in Washington Square in New York City's Greenwich Village, Laraaji was playing with his eyes closed. Reluctant to disturb the trance-like quality of the music, Eno left a note in Laraaji's collection box saying: "Dear sir, kindly excuse this impromptu message, I was wondering if you would be interested in talking about participating in a recording project I'm doing?" The following day Laraaji called the number Eno had left and within weeks they had together recorded Day Of Radiance. With Laraaji providing the compositions and Eno adding his characteristic washes of ambient sound, the resulting rhythmic and harmonic patterns are wonderfully hypnotic, evoking both the American classical minimalism of Terry Riley (think In Cor A Rainbow In Curved Air), and the exotic, ethereal tinkling of gamelan. The two pieces (originally one side each of the vinyl release) are complementary but contrasting: The Dance has a faster pulse and an ecstatic mood; Meditation, as its title suggests, is slower and more contemplative. It still sounds remarkable, thirty-five years on.