MP3 Michael Fitzsimmons - Water Flows Over Me
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11 MP3 Songs in this album (55:09) !
Related styles: New Age: Healing, World: World Fusion, Mood: Dreamy
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Water Flows Over Me
Iâve been a fan of Michael Fitzsimmons since I had the good fortune to purchase Light in the Village (based on a description in the Backroads Music catalog - thanks Lloyd Barde) many years ago. Using an assortment of drums, percussion, wind instruments, and voice, Fitzsimmons delivered a wonderfully unique exploration of music stripped of artifice and reduced to a man playing an assortment of instruments with obvious joy and a passionate love of making music. His recording of several years back, Skin on Skin, further elevated my opinion of his artistry as he dazzled me on a wide variety of hand percussion and wind instruments. On his latest release, Water Flows Over Me, Fitzsimmons has discovered a new hand percussion instrument, the hang, a metal object that has a sound resembling a cross between a steel drum and a kalimba. After just one playing, I was convinced that this CD was the crowning achievement of Fitzsimmons' career so far. The music is filled with such wondrous joy and exhilaration, yet itâs still gentle in spirit (even when fast in tempo) and easy to listen to without raising oneâs blood pressure. What a splendid exploration of the pure love of playing instruments, as the back cover states, through simply "...breathing and pounding!"
Besides the hang, Fitzimmons also contributes on all manner of exotic drums, brass bells, flutes and pan pipes, whistles, rattles, shakers, chimes, voice, and a smattering of synthesizer (for texture only). Listening on headphones to this music is revelatory; it's like peeling away layers of an onion, each layer leading to another one. I can truly get lost in this recording, just meandering down the various paths of rhythm and melody.
Gathering Clouds opens the CD with a midtempo cadence with haunting flute and vocals set against the hang and assorted percussion while a bird call-like flute imparts a sense of mystery. A slower tribal-istic beat comes into play on Pull of the Moon with wordless vocals and the hang sounding more like a steel drum than on the previous track. Water Colors is resplendent yet slow-paced with hand drums in both left and right channels and the metallic sounding hang in the center channel, flanking and surrounding the listener with an insistent yet pleasing rhythm. On Cascade the comparisons to steel drums comes to the forefront, as Fitzsimmons beats out a mildly energetic beat on the instrument, each melodic reverberating note echoing and flowing into the next one.
Later in the album, the title track merges the hang's unique sound with other hand percussion in a softly swaying and sensual tune, while Night Voyage crosses over into darker more mysterious soundscapes, yet still suffused with a pulsing rhythmic energy. Sea of Wonders blends pan pipes, plucked strings (sounding like a balalaika at times), and slow tempo percussion in one of the more haunting tracks on the CD. The album ends with Spring Rains which earns its title as the song evokes the sound of gentle drops hitting the earth in random patterns, via Fitzsimmons dexterous use of the hang and his cavalcade of percussion.
Some albums are too wondrous to adequately explain in a review. I am left to hope that somehow you, dear reader, realize how special a talent Michael Fitzsimmons is and how magical his skill with his breath, his hands, and his voice are. In just three recordings he has made a huge impression on me (a relatively jaded critic). Water Flows Over Me is such a lovely, beautiful, and subtly joyous recording that I wish I could convince everyone who reads this review to buy it. It's one of those albums that, dammit, makes you glad to be a human so you can appreciate how special it is.
- reviewed by Bill Binkelman on 4/18/2007
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