Byron Metcalf & Steve Roach - The Shaman’s Heart II [Projekt - 2012]“The Shaman’s Heart II” finds ethnic percussionist Byron Metcalf been joined by US ambient legend Steve Roach, to create a slowly morphing piece of shamanic tribal ethno ambience.
The album takes in just over seventy one minutes worth of ethno/ shamanic rhythms that are flowed under by Steve Roach's mysterious, rising, yet relatively subtle ambient textures. The album is broken up into ten tracks, but these really work as index points instead of separate tracks as this is one long shifting piece. On the album Metcalf plays a variety of percussive based elements taking in: Buffalo Drums, Ceremonial Toms, Frame Drums, Clay pots, Medicine rattles, & various ambient percussive elements. In the sonic supporting role Roach utilizes a mixture of:Didgeridoo, Ocarinas, Analog & digital hardware syths, Analogue Modula systems, ect.
The album starts in mysterious & mystical manner with a mixture of flute like/ Didgeridoo drifts & shadowy ambient ebbs. Under this is a fairly stripped & eerier ethno percussive backing, which slowly builds in detail & depth as the track goes on. By around the 5th minute the more shadowy/ darker elements have disappeared, and the shifting percussive textures, along with the mysterious yet now warming ambient textures are in place- this all feels like the sun has just come up over a timeless desertscape.
Over the next hour or so the track centres around a continual rhythmic ethnic heart beat, and around this Metcalf & Roach build a subtly shifting & shamanic tipped mixture of percussive & ambient elements. All of which creates a rewarding & mind expanding ethno ambient sonic trip. In the tracks last fifteen minutes or so the rhythmic elements slowly but surely strip down to leave just Roach rich, golden yet mysterious ambient textural swirls ‘n’ ebbs.
So if you enjoy an un-clichéd mixture of ethno rhythmic texturing & subtle yet heady ambience “The Shaman’s heart II” is well worth a look.Roger Batty