The holidays, end of year stuff, travel, and just not having any new CDs that produced much torque left me without enough spark to get started on a CD review. Ah, but, finally, as I was listening to an older recording that I hadn’t listened to in years, I was thrust into high gear. This music is hypnotic. It cruises in clean straight lines. It’s tight in the corners; it courses smoothly over rolling terrain. It makes noise, it purrs, it evokes. It’s ’90s psychedelic ethno-trance chill, and a bit of a throwback to the turn-on, tune-in, drop-out of the make love not war 1960s eastern spiritualism awakening with a touch of quantum physics. Take a test drive. . .

The first two samples shouldn’t lead you to believe that they’re reading the street signs out loud down every road. It’s only on those two courses that Robert Anthony’s rumbling voice is heard rolling out in his sultry come thither way, but those bits of narration add some grip to the otherwise oil slick album.

Consummate didgeridoo by Stephen Kent, lyrical clarinet by Beth Custer, precise percussion by John Loose, digital atmospherics and odds & ends by Kenneth Newby make up the group Trance Mission. They’ve recorded three other albums during their run. Meanwhile, their second recording, with numerous guests contributing to the mix, makes me wonder why I never got any of their other CDs. It’s well recorded, and not a hint of dynamic compression. They are a prime example of musicians who took the twisting backroads instead of the curve-challenged superhighway of mainstream mediocrity.

(||) Rating — Music : A ║ Performance : A ║ Recording : A ║
 Trance Mission, Meanwhile, City of Tribes Records, 1994

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