Wind And Wire
NatureSpace is a warm and friendly voyage to a soundscape filled with tropical m
Combining a variety of types of guitar music (steel-string, electric, synth) with subtle New Zealand nature sounds (bird song), musician Sambodhi Prem elicits memories of artists like Bruce BecVar with his latest recording. The blending of new age sensibility with the melodic appeal of pop/adult contemporary music, NatureSpace is a CD filled with an easy-going sense of “taking one’s time.” An album meant to be enjoyed leisurely, as one would a fine cup of coffee or a well-prepared meal, this recording is simple yet delightful. The guitar takes center stage, but never in such a way that I felt overwhelmed.
Beginning with the slow-tempo but good-natured opener, “Ode to Nature,” the album flows with life and positive energy. While a lot of readers of my website reject recordings with nature sounds in them, I can easily say that the bird song on NatureSpace is unobtrusive, if not almost sonically invisible. In fact, when played in the background, I barely noticed anything except the music. And the music was a delight. Being a fan of Bruce BecVar and Jamie Bonk, I found the strongly melodic guitar-led instrumentals just the tonic for the midwinter blues here in Minnesota! The lively “Land of Trees” bubbles effervescently, like a brook over rocks. Hand percussion, synth strings, and guitar flow easily together. The sultry “Kyntyre Brase” is anchored by electric guitar and a swaying beat that brings to mind strolls along a white-sand beach.
The mix on this CD is very solid! I’m listening on headphones as I write this review and the placement of drums, keys, and guitar is spot on. The recording is also crystal clear. Once more I want to emphasize that the nature sounds on this recording are not in the least intrusive. The music stands easily as the main thrust of the album. And the music is great. Whether the more ambient/EM-like cut “True Step” or the sexy jazzy “Woman’s Heart” (great electric guitar in a Wes Montgomery-vein), NatureSpace is a warm and friendly voyage to a soundscape filled with tropical melodies and sensual rhythms. Fans of artists like Govi or the aforementioned Jamie Bonk should also enjoy this recording as well as listeners of other quality guitar-led ensemble work. Make no mistake, though. There are plenty of keyboards on this album to infuse variety into the mix as well (e.g. the piano intro of “So Right” which fuses with rainstick, slow tempo drums and electric piano yielding a most satisfying excursion into midnight dancing under a moonlit sky).
While guitar dominates on NatureSpace, I can recommend this recording to anyone who enjoys melodic “day” music. The tunes are too “bright” for nighttime enjoyment to my ears. But for afternoons or early morning risers who need something more than traditional low-key fare, this may be the ticket. In addition, this is as close to a must have for Bruce BecVar fans as has ever existed. Not as “pop” sounding as some of Bruce’s work, but easily as accessible, Sambodhi’s flair for mixing his talent on guitar alongside keyboards and drums earmarks him as an artist in his prime. NatureSpace is an enjoyable addition to the collection of guitar and adult contemporary music fans everywhere.