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by Mark Maxwell Abushady • New York City


Inspireline Records
Neurodisc Records
Though categorized as ambient and electronic, this album has warmth and soul, and a longing that reaches beyond the stereotype. Ambitious titles such as “Awakening,” “16 Steps to Infinity,” and “Condensed Light” might set one up for disappointment, but not so with DaKsha. There is an epic quality to some of the cuts and lightheartedness to others.

Golden Spa Tones
Dean Evenson, Walter Makichen
Soundings of the Planet
This offering, noted as being specifically created for use in spa treatment rooms, healing, yoga and meditation, makes use of ocean sounds, alto & silver flutes, bells, gongs, and Tibetan Singing Bowls. I was attracted to its ‘warning’: “May cause a heightened state of peacefulness. Do not use while driving.” Who couldn’t use a heightened state of peacefulness?! Golden Spa Tones does indeed deliver on that promise! The music is unobtrusive in the extreme and pattern-less -- ideal qualities for resting the mind and healing the body.

Tempting the Muse
Tempting the Muse, described as “in the spirit of Enigma,” is actually heavier on the pop, lighter on the Gregorian chants, giving a brighter and more contemporary quality to this fine selection. Mysteria seems to fuse the two elements with greater ease and success than other groups in this genre. Well produced and very enjoyable.

The Sound of Peace
John Fluker
Sparkling with clarity, these beautifully recorded piano pieces--at times having a ‘Windham Hill’ feel, at other times a very classical feel--are indeed extremely peaceful. That said, the pieces are not at all “background music,” as the skill of this artist will draw your attention ever back to his music. Minimally accompanied by the occasional strings or nature sounds, a number of the cuts (such as ‘Bridge of Light,’ and ‘The Hollow Earth’) are truly exquisite. Mr. Fluker, states “I love to play the piano at night,” and upon listening, you can hear the effect of this passion on his works.

The Temple
dhillon k.
The Temple is dhillon k.’s folk offering. With music and lyrics at times rough, at others smooth, one may be surprised by the end of the album at the different qualities he brings to various songs. Touched at times with the spiritual, his lyrics are thoughtful, (So many windows, so little light . . . If we could only open up we’d find . . . we’ve all been sleeping). Other than a cut of Peter Gabriel’s Solsbury Hill, all are written by the performer. A fine, ‘modern folk’ album.

Yoga Moods
various artists
This “sampler” was compiled by Yoga-trainer Beth Shaw from the works of Jens Gad Presents, Althea W., Achillea, Peter Mergener, The Moontrane Conductors, Hands Upon Black Earth, and David & Steve Gordon presumably for Yoga work, though the liner notes include entertaining friends and relaxation among its uses. Mixed so that one track melts into the next, the cuts have a definite beat/rhythm, which make it more suitable to the physical/active styles of Yoga, as well as Piltes work.


Zen Noir
A Film by Marc Rosenbush
“The morning fog clung to the city like the scent of desperation on an aging drag queen . . . why do I talk this way?” So begins Zen Noir, the story of a private dick (played to perfection by actor Duane Sharp in a perfect send up of Film Noir style), who investigates a murder in a Zen Buddhist sanctuary. The film, however, presents more than the odd but entertaining encounters of the tense, edgy detective and the philosophical stance of the Zen practitioners (“Where were you at the time of the murder?” “What do you mean by ‘time?’”). It is peppered with language that will cause many a viewer to reflect, yet is not a pacifying film in any way, as a couple of the more startling images prove. Although our main character is quite affected by his exploration, unexpectedly, but reasonably, all parties affect each other. The film could also be described as a ‘different kind of love story,’ and when it delivered its ultimate message, I found myself hearing the ‘Ode to Joy’ and my eyes watering. Indeed, this film allows us to see great sadness and great joy existing side by side. An excellent cast, including the aforementioned Duane Sharp, Debra Miller, and Kim Chan as ‘The Master.’ Impressive cinematography and good soundtrack rounds out this multiple film festival winner.


Mark Maxwell Abushady is an actor, singer, designer and photographer based in New York City.