This CD will be an instant favorite, and it’s another entry into my “geezer rave” category. Others might stick it in the adult contemporary instrumental, chill-lounge, or smooth jazz categories.

Maddison is a talented musician skilled on a number of instruments, but the bulk of the album is dominated by Maddison’s lovely guitar work. Flautist Julian Wiggins contributes background riffs as well as lead melodic material. Traditional Tibetan instruments are included but the mixes aren’t overloaded with them. The soft, pulsing percussion work ranges from slow to mid-tempo, and sets an easy, relaxed pace throughout. 

Track 2 “Pearl of Wisdom” is characteristic of the songs on the CD. A laid-back pulse underscores a gentle, floating harmonic progression. A twisting, wistful guitar melody sets the pace, and moves through variations that are ornamented with flute and synth riffs, and dusted with wind chimes. Track 5 “Namaste” follows this compositional and orchestral pattern, although the jam jaunts along for 8:01 minutes.

Listeners familiar with Third Force and Soulfood will love this CD. It’s excellent for relaxing, meditating, exercising, and ritual work. I often play it while friends are visiting or sharing dinner, as it provides optimistic, fresh, and energetic sound space with a twist of oriental chic. It stimulates conversations and friends and visitors almost always ask the name of the CD. Recommended for sophisticated lounge lizards who enjoy instrumental-only CDs that will impress their friends.

~review by Elizabeth Hazel

Artist: Karl Maddison
Gemini Sun Records, 2007
51:18 minutes, $7.25

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