Satori: Music for Yoga and Meditation




The CD’s liner notes define satori as “the indescribable experience of sudden, intuitive spiritual realization.” That may be, yet unless you are a serious student of yoga or a fan of its ancient musical traditions, you may struggle to reach such a state while listening to these improvisations for shakuhachi flute (Riley Lee) and koto (Gabriel Lee, no relation). The recording’s mood is almost somber and contrasts noticeably with Oriental Sunrise and Sanctuary, two splendid Riley Lee discs that offer a broader, more expressive tonal range. Here a stronger Oriental mood is conveyed, and the notion of stillness is pursued with such earnestness that the final result (to Occidental ears) is ultimately a state of inertia. While composers sometimes refer to the use of silence as an overt creative element in their works, Satori relies so heavily on the approach that it seems as though Lee’s flute is being filtered through a dense fog, and from a substantial distance. Satori, originally recorded in 1983, seems best suited to serious-minded yoga practitioners and those who prefer to adorn their meditative states with only the most minimal of audio embellishments. For such people, this disc could be the answer to prayers. For others interested in shakuhachi music, the two aforementioned discs are likely to be more satisfying choices. –Terry Wood


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