INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
Uncut NOVEMBER 2013 - by Louis Pattison
LARAAJI - CELESTIAL MUSIC: 1978-2011
Icon of the New Age, collected and compiled
Philadelphia's Edward Gordon studied music composition and played in a funk group before finding a new, spiritual path in the early '70s. Renaming himself Laraaji Nadabrahmanananda, he was plucked from obscurity when Brian Eno heard him busking in New York's Washington Square Park and enlisted him to appear on the third edition of his Ambient series. Indeed, Day Of Radiance (1980) could pretty much be said to be a Laraaji album with Eno in a producer role, adding subtle processing to the musician's cascading melodies, played on hammered dulcimer and zither. This two-CD collection draws from two distinct sides of Laraaji's career. The first disc, titled 'Cosmic Tape Experiments', draws on seldom-heard cassette recordings, designed for meditation sold through head shops and New Age book stores; while the second disc draws on commercially recorded fare and collaborations. It is a strong career summary, including a Day Of Radiance track (Dance #3) and a hefty chunk of Laraaji's stellar 2011 piece with Blues Control. If anything, it's the unearthed material that has dated best: the beautiful freak-outs of Sun Zither; or Unicorns In Paradise, an echo-soaked dreamscape that presages modern New Agers such as Dolphins Into The Future.
EXTRAS: Twenty-four page booklet, detailed sleevenotes