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Second Wind
By Lorrie Sarafin
Label: Lizard Dance Productions
Second Wind tracks
1. Bobbi (Canyon Sunrise)  
2. Floating  
3. Ceremony  
4. It's a Dry Heat  
5. Zen Gardens  
6. Sarah  
7. Tiger Eyes  
8. Song for Stephanie  
9. Scorpio Rising  
10. Blackheart  
11. South Mountain Sunrise  
12. Emergence  
13. All My Relations  
14. Monsoon  
15. Dusk  
16. Camelback Shadows  
A Musical Journey through the Desert Southwest
From flutist Lorrie Sarafin comes an album which contains some of the best combinations of desert ambient soundscapes, haunting Native American-influenced flute, and environmental sounds since John Huling's classic release, Desert Plateaus. Listening to Second Wind is like taking a journey through the southwestern United States, from the majestic landscapes of Monument Valley to ancient Anasazi and Pueblo ruins to shadowy sand and cactus landscapes which are both beautiful and terrifying in the isolation they represent.

Employing various instrument sounds and loops (e.g. assorted synths, percussion and keyboards) as well as her excellent flute-playing, Sarafin portrays a day in the life of the desert, starting with Bobbi (Canyon Sunrise) and its plaintive echoed piano and washes of ambience with additional hand drums later added to the music, and ending with the eerie textural Dusk (featuring some evocative kalimba, i.e. thumb piano, set against the sounds of crickets and synth washes) and the mysterious yet serene Camelback Shadows with flute hovering over tribal percussion and waves of synths that evoke images of the lengthening shadows of the song’s title.

In between are thirteen more tracks, all of them offering variations of this assortment: ambient-flavored pieces that contain excellently engineered synth/keyboard washes and tones, songs dominated more by the artist's Native flute, or perfectly balanced blends, such as Floating which bounces reverberating bell tones underneath pulsing hand drums, a flute refrain, and fluid synth lines. Some tracks delight with their inventiveness, such as the whimsically titled It’s a Dry Heat (swooshing whirling synths set against sampled plucked upright bass which morphs into a quasi-glitchy piece as ping-ponging tones are set off by ebbing and flowing washes before settling into a shimmering collection of electronic textures, suggesting heat rising from the desert floor). Zen Gardens has, as one might expect, an Asian sound to it, although the addition of reverbed tones scattered throughout the track juxtapose the bamboo flute and tribal percussion nicely. Environmental sounds add just the right emphasis to Monsoon as approaching thunder leads to a torrential downpour before fading into a gentle rainstorm, while a Robert Rich-like flute floats hazily in mid-air and subdued electronic effects impart an otherworldly sensation to the piece.

From a technical standpoint, as an independent release, Second Wind is exceedingly well produced and engineered (the artwork is equally professional, especially when compared to some other indie first-time recordings I have seen). Seeing as how this is Lorrie Sarafin’s first solo recording, it’s exciting to speculate where she is headed. This album is one of the best efforts in capturing musical desert ambience I’ve heard in a very long time. I eagerly await future music from this extremely talented woman.
Rating: Excellent   Excellent
- reviewed by Bill Binkelman on 1/19/2006
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