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In its original incarnation the music on this album was the soundtrack to the movie Boundless Light—The People of Tibet. Soundtracks have their appeal, but in most cases it is limited, serving to frame the pictures and the emotion of film. They must have a whole new pulse to succeed outside that ambit. Chorobik’s beautifully crafted compositions on Desert of Clouds work very well indeed. He meshes different musical forms, artfully creating sounds that are ethereal and captivating. Perhaps nothing is more effective than the seamless integration of Tibetan chant into the music. The credit for this infusion should also go to Choying Rinpoche, a Tibetan Lama, whose voice soothes like a balm and caresses like a dew drop.
Serenity marks much of Tibetan life. The music reflects this and the spell is cast from the opening track, on which the voice of a child is the herald for Rinpoche. His chant falls softly against the lush notes of the organ; and when the flute, violin and guitar are incorporated into the weave, the tapestry is resplendent.
The family of flutes that Chorobik uses enhances several of the compositions. There is a particular appeal to the soothing strains that come in “After the Rain,” a superbly structured entwining with the string players. Happiness is the hallmark of the jaunty “The Shadow Dance– Second Round,” a repeated motif on the bass tracing a hypnotic spell that gets the flute dancing a melodic tune on top. Prayer is an integral part of Tibetan life and “Prayer Wheels” turn on the rhythmic groove of percussion, incantation and the soprano for a magnetic whole. The concept is interesting and it works.
As a kid, my mom told me I'd like jazz. I thought she was nuts. Then I went to hear Cannonball Adderley (with Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker, Roy McCurdy and Airto) and everything changed. Yeah, mom knows best.