Hear The Track HereLast track out of the bag this month is from RAF21 (aka Raf Beaudon), an electronica artist from France. I reviewed his I Have A Dream (December 2006) and liked it a lot. It's a great blend of classical references, played to perfection and sounding wonderful. I can't say I am a great fan of the whole new age thing, especially the sounds but when dealt with by someone who knows a thing or two about musical coherence, even a philistine like me can learn to love it. I think what it comes down to isn't so much what musicians in these genres (ambient/chillout/newage whatever) actually play, as the weak, knock-kneed insipid sound it's couched in. There again, it is music for sprawling about too after all so I suppose the way it sounds makes a kind of sense.
Now being of the world music persuasion, you can bet that I was waiting for this baby to come up the list. The title is a dead giveaway, isn't it? Mind you, having gone from classsical to world in one bound, who knew what RAF21 may come up with? So, the great day dawned and this track first started getting a proper going over and the first thing I discovered that it does indeed fit the bill quite handsomely, although the first couple of listens threw me a bit until I started to notice the Chinese instruments around the third or so play. As with his first track I reviewed, there is a fine musical sensibility at work here and it shows in the careful way the track unfolds.
There is the slightest easy listening feel to it, even after repeated plays, but there again a lot of modern Asian music does have that quality and - to my mind - gives the peice extra resonance. I also think it probably wasn't helped by the factory sound of some of the instruments, but you deal with what you've got. What shines out - as always - is the sure musical touch that Raf brings to the proceedings, giving the listener a ear-blissout they are unlikely to forget. Despite all my p***ing and moaning, I like Asian Life a great deal, it's a lovely peice of world music that most fans of the world genre will lap up.
Recommended World music.