This is not a new album having been released in 2004 but it looked interesting and so I thought I’d give it a whirl anyway. It’s a collaboration between Jim Lampi and the German producer Zeus B Held (what a fabulous name that is!) with input from Australian musicians including Craig T and Damian Armstrong from the rap-metal band NoKTuRNL. Digital Dreaming is an album inspired by the Australian outback and has vocals provided by Frank Yamma who is perhaps Australia’s leading aboriginal musician and sings in his native language Pitjantjatara as well as English. Percussion is provided by Olaf Tzschoppe from Les Percussions de Strasbourg and reggae singer Silvalox adds improvised vocal textures and “body rhythms” to the album.
Jim Lampi is a Chapman Stick player which, if you’ve never come across one, is an interesting stringed instrument with a five and a quarter octave range which is played by tapping and plucking the strings along the fret board and whilst broadly resembling a guitar it’s more akin to a piano…look it up!
The album can be generally described as being “World Music” but that catch all title is selling this album a little short in my opinion.
Track one (there are no titles given to tracks here) has a bit of an Indian vibe to it until the didgeridoo (Shaun Farrendon) kicks in. The track is hypnotic and really rather good. Certainly not the kind of thing I’d normally listen to given my usual tastes in music but enjoyable none the less.
Next up is a track that begins with sound textures which, to my mind, have a somewhat Celtic feel to them, before Yammas vocal and the didgeridoo come in bringing you back to the Outback vibe. About half way through the song picks up rhythm and pace with percussion and guitar giving a definite upbeat feel to the tune.
Track three is more of the same really with layers of instruments and vocals creating an interesting and appealing sound that’s perfect for either late night listening with the lights low or for a sunny Summer’s day lying on your back in the grass, eyes closed and allowing the music to take you away with it.
Track 4 is a little bit of a departure from the previous songs. The clearly aboriginal sounds and textures are all there but there’s also a frantic breakbeat and percussion over the collage of sounds. Not what I was expecting at all to be honest but very enjoyable! A great and driving bassline underpins the next offering and it has to be said that despite the stated intention of this album being a concept of the Outback it is very modern sounding and manages to keep from become a clichéd caricature itself.
Onto track six and we have the expected didgeridoo and what not and I’m reminded for some reason of Gong…I have no idea why!!! It’s a long meandering track that rises and falls bringing to mind a night time full of animals, strange noises and a certain tension.
Ok, you get the general gist of Digital Dreaming I’m sure. If you are a fan of world music then you’ll absolutely love this album. If you are a music lover wanting to broaden your horizons a little then again you’re going to enjoy this album. The record feels optimistic, upbeat, festive and celebratory. The musicianship is first class and the production is too.