Sacred Spirit, Vol. 2: More Chants and Dances of Native
The second Sacred Spirit album by that enigmatic individual known as the Fearsome Brave (a.k.a. Germany's Claus Zundel) once again wraps various heartening Native American chants in an array of ambient grooves, orchestral arrangements, and electronica. As stated the liner notes, "Some things are better left unexplained," and Zundel indeed chooses to forgo the listing of most sources, performers, and translations. It's up to the listener to determine what it all means, and although the evasion of detail in this approach may smack a bit of imperialism, the album is nonetheless exciting and elevating. Noble orchestral sweeps ride along on a pulsing, ambient bass as instrumental breaks -- featuring solo violin, cello, piano, and Native American flute -- add emotional impact, and sounds of wind, water, and birds incorporate the presence of nature. A breathtaking zephyr of winds and pow-wow chants opens the album on "Intro: Gods & Heroes," and the engaging group singing on "A-La-Ka" and the conga-driven "Land of Promise," are upbeat, but the prevailing emotional tone is one of solemnity. A melancholy wooden flute refrain walks over a somber blues riff bass pattern on "The Sad Eyed Chief," which then fades out with a spoken proclamation from an old-timer and a military snare drum cadence. Thorny as its attitude towards crediting may be, an overall feeling of respect for Native American music and cultures nonetheless makes Sacred Spirit II a winner.