Amun Ra – Bloom (CD)

“Ancient Sky” is a track that benefits from its Neal Peart-styled basslines and infusion of rock to the jazz backdrop of the track. The extended synthesizer solo doubles the bass to perfection, and adds a bridge with the same quality of Emily’s voice to fill out the track. Ending “Ancient Sky” with ever more chaotic drums, Amun Ra really makes a mini-movement in just the five minutes of space that the band allots themselves. Following up “Ancient Sky” with the self-titled track, Amun Ra really tones down the tempo and puts an ethereal bent to their music that simply wasn’t present in the previous track. Nearly topping the scales at eight minutes, the track is just adorned enough to keep individuals compelled – even down to its Frank Zappa-like breakdowns. Continuing their low-key journey with “Time”, the band looks back to the seventies jazz paradigm and mixes it with different time signatures to make the track less monotonous. Entering ever so timidly with their longest track of “Bloom”, Amun Ra spends literally minutes in the build up to the funky, jazzy “Spiritual Expedition”.

Channeling the spirit and tempo of Don Henley’s “New York Minute”, Amun Ra mixes an audible bass line with tinkling piano playing for “Maybe Rodin”. Moving back into jazz at times with the song, having Emily assume the vocal duties of an Ella Fitzgerald, I find myself more drawn to the low-key, less-noticed interplay previously described between the bass and piano. By this moment, some of the Propellerheads /Morcheeba vocals of Emilys are starting to sound flat, after being assaulted with them without much in the way of different approaches between tracks. Finally firing up the synthesizer in a big way for “El Zahf”,Amun Ra finally have something that could be construed as a radio-friendly track. The Dido-like vocals of Emily, as well as the hints of reggae/tribal influence that find their way onto the site.

Overall, Amun Ra’s album is a great piece of music, especially fitted for zoning out or going to sleep to. While some of the tracks tend to drag on a little long, Amun Ra does a lot of work in trying to keep them from slipping into the depths of monotony, and do a good job in that. The style of music that Amun Ra plays may not be my favorite, but it is plain to see that they know what they are doing.

Top Tracks: Time, Maybe Rodin

Rating: 6.2/10

Amun Ra – Bloom / 10 Tracks / 2003 Self-Released / / / Reviewed 28 April 2004

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