INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
Uncut NOVEMBER 2013 - by Louis Pattison
LARAAJI - AMBIENT 3: DAY OF RADIANCE
Fine ambient document, now on gatefold vinyl.
The recent critical reappraisal of new age music has shone a light on a much-maligned genre, but few practitioners deserve their moment in the sun quite as much as Laraaji. Born Edward Larry Gordon, this African-American musician and club comic renamed himself Laraaji Nadabrahmananda following a spiritual awakening in the late '60s, and in 1979 was busking on his amplified zither in New York's Washington Square Park when he caught the attention of one Brian Eno. At the time, Eno was exploring the possibilities of what he called "ambient" music, and Laraaji would be his new test subject. Day Of Radiance - the third in Eno's Ambient series - consists of five tracks: three rhythmic hypnotic pieces played on hammered dulcimer (titled The Dance) and two soft, thoughtful pieces played on an open-tuned zither (titled Meditation). Unusually, for Laraaji's work, there is no synthesiser work, and little in the way of effects - although Eno played a subtle post-production role, supplying layering and echo. Presented relatively unadorned, though, we can see just what a technically fine musician Laraaji is, his timeless, ageless music closer in spirit to that of Steve Reich or Philip Glass than the synthesised pan-pipes brigade