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Laraaji: Through Luminous Eyes

Mark Sullivan By

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Laraaji: Through Luminous Eyes
Ambient/New Age veteran Laraaji is best known for his meditative electrified zither playing, His first broad exposure came with the Brian Eno-produced Ambient 3: Day of Radiance (Editions EG, 1980). Recently he returned to the piano—his first instrument—on Sun Piano and Moon Piano (Self Produced, 2020). Although he considers the EP Through Luminous Eyes to be the final part of his piano trilogy, it is the fascinating result of Laraaji playing both instruments at once, in real time, in a kind of duet.

Recorded in a Brooklyn church during the same sessions as the piano albums, Laraaji played the stereo panned zither with his right hand and the piano with his left. Right from the opening "Through Luminous Eyes 1," the luminous, spacious zither is anchored by the acoustic piano, like zither with Eno's piano accompanying, an alternate view of how Day of Radiance could have gone. The lead and accompanist roles switch back and forth between the instruments, until the piano stands alone a few minutes in.

"Through Luminous Eyes 2" begins with piano alone, before being joined by massive, echoing zither soundscapes. "Through Luminous Eyes 3" again features the piano initially, before adding zither commentary, with especially sumptuous passages towards the end. The fourth and final part of the suite features a panoramic zither sweep which temporarily completely eclipses the piano part, before giving way to the first piano solo. A longer, lyrical piano sequence foreshadows the finale—a lovely piano solo with Laraaji sounding completely assured on the instrument. This EP is a unique entry in Laraaji's discography, and a beautiful way to spend just under half an hour.

Track Listing

Through Luminous Eyes 1; Through Luminous Eyes 2; Through Luminous Eyes 3; Through Luminous Eyes 4.

Personnel

Laraaji: various.

Additional Instrumentation

Laraaji: piano, electric zither.

Album information

Title: Through Luminous Eyes | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Self Produced

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