Niel Golden It's a Journey

Niel Golden confesses in the liner notes of his new album, "A few years ago, I was introduced to a new instrument. Many of the pieces on this CD were created as I explored the Hang’s possibilities.” If you have ever known a drummer, you understand that a new toy is an obsession for as long as it makes noise, and generally produces incessant experimentation. Fortunately, in this case the gleeful thwacking actually created a listenable and engaging album. The Hang is a sort of steel drum played by hand — it produces a hollow ringing tone, metallically similar to Golden’s native instrument, the tabla. It’s shown off to best effect in "Bergamot,” a grooving tune that builds itself off of a light line on the hang brought to fruition in the violin and voice. The album is a bit "world” melting-pot, but with a decent sense of humour — the rendition of "Paint it Black” is easily one of the best tracks on the disc, and pulls a somewhat introverted exploration into the real world. (Independent)