Lovespace Music, 2007
As tribal fusion bellydance grows in popularity, the artists associated with that style blossom. One such artist is healer/ dancer/musician Diane Gardner (formerly Kirkland), an English composer who forms the foundation of the music-healing project Lovespace.
Trained in bodywork, dance, and musical arts, Gardner has assembled a handful of backing musicians to accentuate her sensually spiritual compositions. The majority of the work in Vesta, though, is Diane’s. An entrancing collection of sound-scapes woven around the idea of a “new divine femininity,” this album glides from New Age ambiance to engaging bellydance beats. The latter tracks (“Dance for the World,” “The Silk Road … Within,” and “In Exile”) present many of Vesta’s strongest moments. Several of the ambient cuts (especially “The Hag” and “The Dark Feminine,” neither of which seems ominous enough to suit their titles) meander into synth-y whooshisms reminiscent of early Kitaro.
That said, my personal favorite track, “Hypnotic Savior,” belongs to the ambient end of the spectrum, yet carries perhaps the strongest emotional weight on Vesta. I’ve heard this track, along with “Dance for the World,” employed in ecstatic dance mixes, and both songs fit well in such situations. Two other soundscapes, “Separation” and “Retribution,” are nicely evocative as well, and capture the stark nature of their themes.
Like many albums of this genre, Vesta is built around keyboard washes and synth samples, with accents of organic strings, duduk, percussion, and voice. That human element draws depth and color out from the electronic background, particularly on “Retribution,” “Hypnotic Savior,” “Silk Road Å\ Within,” and “Dance for the World.” That heavily synthetic sound, its apparent form-lessness, and several abrupt “fade out … done!” endings may be the album’s biggest drawbacks, though fans of the ambient style won’t find them too troublesome. All in all, Vesta is an enchanting debut album with deep undercurrents and an evocative sound. It’s become a favorite backdrop for my writing, and may be equally inspiring for meditation, reading, or deeply sensual sex.
RATING: 4 Broomsticks
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