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Laraaji|Segue To Infinity

Segue To Infinity

Laraaji

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The multi-instrumentalist and composer Edward Larry Gordon—better known as Laraaji—is unlike any other New Age artist. For starters, his distinctive work is free of the polished surfaces often associated with the genre; instead, his music has an intimate, hand-made quality. And, importantly, his performances have a sense of unpredictable improvisation.


An ecstatic vibe pervades the native Philadelphian's output, but there are other shadings at play, too. This only deepens the inherently joyful nature of his oeuvre, one that goes back decades and includes Ambient 3: Day of Radiance, a 1980 LP produced by Brian Eno that was part of Eno's landmark Ambient series. 


2023's Segue to Infinity includes a reissue of Laraaaji's 1978 debut, Celestial Vibration (originally released under Gordon's birth name), and six previously unreleased tracks recorded at around the same time. zither and mbira are featured; delay and reverb play essential roles. 


Celestial Vibration consists of two tracks that nicely contrast. "All Pervading" often evokes Indonesian gamelan music as hammered-zither and kalimba create rich textural interplay. During some stretches, electronic effects take over. Everything keeps moving and "All Pervading" rivets from beginning to end. On "Bethlehem," Laraaji coaxes various timbres, ranging from ringing to rough, out of his instruments. Unlike "All Pervading," with its general sense of forward motion, "Bethlehem" travels around more freely, but like "All Pervading," it intrigues throughout its duration.  


The previously unreleased "Koto'' opens with eerie strums and ringing bells before it sets off on its exploration of other entrancing sonorities. Each of the three takes of "Kalimba" has something to offer. "Kalimba 1" purposefully and pleasingly wanders, while "Kalimba 4" displays a mellow ethereality.  "Kalimba 2" stuns: it's high-energy, streamlined, blissed-out.  


The title track features a guest, flutist Richard Cooper. Laraaji's sound-web quietly backs Cooper's quavering tones, which recall Japanese shakuhachi music. There is a mood of bucolic splendor, low-key awe on display. "Segue to Infinity" is a bit different than anything else here and expands this impressive album's breadth. © Fred Cisterna/Qobuz

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Segue To Infinity

Laraaji

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1
Bethlehem
00:24:33

Laraaji, MainArtist - Songs of Numero Group, MusicPublisher

2023 Numero Group 2022 Numero Group

2
All Pervading
00:24:18

Laraaji, MainArtist - Songs of Numero Group, MusicPublisher

2023 Numero Group 2022 Numero Group

3
Ocean
00:24:18

Laraaji, MainArtist - Songs of Numero Group, MusicPublisher

2023 Numero Group 2022 Numero Group

4
Koto
00:21:45

Laraaji, MainArtist - Songs of Numero Group, MusicPublisher

2023 Numero Group 2023 Numero Group

5
Kalimba
00:18:19

Laraaji, MainArtist - Songs of Numero Group, MusicPublisher

2023 Numero Group 2023 Numero Group

6
Segue To Infinity
00:21:34

Laraaji, MainArtist - Songs of Numero Group, MusicPublisher

2023 Numero Group 2023 Numero Group

7
Kalimba 2
00:22:47

Laraaji, MainArtist - Songs of Numero Group, MusicPublisher

2023 Numero Group 2023 Numero Group

8
Kalimba 4
00:22:51

Laraaji, MainArtist - Songs of Numero Group, MusicPublisher

2023 Numero Group 2023 Numero Group

Album review

The multi-instrumentalist and composer Edward Larry Gordon—better known as Laraaji—is unlike any other New Age artist. For starters, his distinctive work is free of the polished surfaces often associated with the genre; instead, his music has an intimate, hand-made quality. And, importantly, his performances have a sense of unpredictable improvisation.


An ecstatic vibe pervades the native Philadelphian's output, but there are other shadings at play, too. This only deepens the inherently joyful nature of his oeuvre, one that goes back decades and includes Ambient 3: Day of Radiance, a 1980 LP produced by Brian Eno that was part of Eno's landmark Ambient series. 


2023's Segue to Infinity includes a reissue of Laraaaji's 1978 debut, Celestial Vibration (originally released under Gordon's birth name), and six previously unreleased tracks recorded at around the same time. zither and mbira are featured; delay and reverb play essential roles. 


Celestial Vibration consists of two tracks that nicely contrast. "All Pervading" often evokes Indonesian gamelan music as hammered-zither and kalimba create rich textural interplay. During some stretches, electronic effects take over. Everything keeps moving and "All Pervading" rivets from beginning to end. On "Bethlehem," Laraaji coaxes various timbres, ranging from ringing to rough, out of his instruments. Unlike "All Pervading," with its general sense of forward motion, "Bethlehem" travels around more freely, but like "All Pervading," it intrigues throughout its duration.  


The previously unreleased "Koto'' opens with eerie strums and ringing bells before it sets off on its exploration of other entrancing sonorities. Each of the three takes of "Kalimba" has something to offer. "Kalimba 1" purposefully and pleasingly wanders, while "Kalimba 4" displays a mellow ethereality.  "Kalimba 2" stuns: it's high-energy, streamlined, blissed-out.  


The title track features a guest, flutist Richard Cooper. Laraaji's sound-web quietly backs Cooper's quavering tones, which recall Japanese shakuhachi music. There is a mood of bucolic splendor, low-key awe on display. "Segue to Infinity" is a bit different than anything else here and expands this impressive album's breadth. © Fred Cisterna/Qobuz

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