To Mickey Hart, the first drumbeat was no less than the Big Bang
itself, and all rhythms that have come since are echoes of and
prayers to that Prime Percussion. His mission with the Grateful
Dead and especially in his own projects has been to unite all the
succeeding rhythmic streams into one band. The quest has produced
some rich results, perhaps never before as integrated as on this
album, his second with musicians from around the globe under the
Planet Drum banner. Hart uses electronics to synthesize rhythms and
vocals into a remarkably organic whole that’s as truly world music
as it gets. Sometimes it’s complex, as in the opening Angola, where
seven musicians play 16 instruments, augmented by various processed
sounds controlled by Hart along with a vocal sampling of the Gyuto
Monks Tantric Choir. Other times it’s remarkably simple, as in the
closing Space Dust, with the same cast armed only with wood blocks,
supplemented by the sound of crickets and a New Guinea rainforest,
as if tapping in to the earth’s own pulse. And that’s the idea.
FromEscape(Dec. 1999).
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