Dave Stringer Brink

Brink is a spiritual world/folk bonanza. With tightly woven, word-packed songs similar to something Cockburn or Fearing might write, Stringer administers layers of luxurious Eastern instrumentation and esoteric themes to produce an album as much for the world music community as western Yoga practitioners. Duets sung in English, Sanskrit, Hindi and Farsi are supported by a strikingly beautiful and droning tamboura and embellished with all manner of Hindi instruments, such as harmonium, santoor and swaramandala. Songs like the tabla-driven "Checking the Arithmetic" are flavoured with pop melodies and sound like Stephen Fearing vacationed in Rishikesh, took up transcendental meditation and brought back a band of Indian players. Others, like the gorgeous "Sleep," are enchanted with swirling and ethereal harmonised melodies and "Shivo'ham Shivo'ham" is an intense awakening with the bowed sarangi and the throaty tamboura creating a venerable atmosphere. Brink is far more interesting and lacks the pretence of any Tea Party-style Eastern philosophical/musical exploration. It feels natural and will be well accepted by Indian fusion music enthusiasts and West meets East spiritual pilgrims alike. (Valley)