Having had the pleasure of featuring Shambhu’s previous release, “Sacred Love,” which was nominated as CD of the Year, Best New Artist, Best World Music CD, and Best Acoustic Instrumental CD by Zone Music Reporter, I was very much looking forward to his latest album, “Dreaming Of Now”, which was two years in the making. The album was recorded at two of the top professional recording facilities in the world – the famed Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, California, and Imaginary Roads Studio in Vermont, owned by Grammy winning producer and Windham Hill founder Will Ackerman, who helped produce the album along with Shambhu and recording engineer Thomas Eaton. Although there are too many to name here, the list of stellar session musicians who accompanied Shambhu in both these locations is no less impressive.
In addition to being an accomplished guitarist in his own right, one of the things that impressed me most about Shambhu is his ability to generate such elegant instrumental songwriting, full of unexpected chord changes with melodic twists and turns. The opening track, “Waterfall,” wends its way through a pastoral melodic landscape reminiscent of The Paul Winter Consort or the classic Windham Hill sound. The orchestration and arrangement of the tune is absolutely stunning. Shambhu has a flawless sense of when to allow space for the music to breathe and when to bring it all together for dramatic effect. Even little touches like a cymbal swell, the ting of a bell, a brief cello accent, or a flourish on the piano, make their contribution in small yet immeasurable ways that reveal the vision and precision of the composer. Everything I wrote about the first track also holds true for all of the others as well. Each one is so rich in detail that it would be impossible to cover them all in depth.
Dreaming of Now excels on so many levels that its’ hard to describe it without over-using superlatives. But ultimately, the music speaks for itself. Although I don’t have a crystal ball, I will predict that Dreaming of Now will soon be found at the top of the new age music charts. Shambhu has created a musical masterwork that sets the standard for music in this genre.
“…Bold, assured composition and performance which unquestionably establishes Shambhu not only as a principal player in the New Age world, but also as a force to be reckoned with in a far broader spectrum of musical styles and genres.”
Founder, Windham Hill Records