Rama IV, a.k.a. Paul Downes, clearly adores the Thai people, their land, and their music. Having traveled there and recorded a mass of sounds for his Silk Mind project, Downes then returned to his studio and wove them into a visionary tapestry of soaring vocals, electronica, and contemporary dance rhythms. The album focuses primarily on rhythmic textures, using both Thai instruments and Western drum sounds, yet several tracks highlight the country's uniquely tangy melodic scales. The title track steals onto the scene following the ting of distant bells, floating a nearly tangible scent of incense; bass-driven grooves hold down the beat as ethereal synth strings and luminous voices cast an angelic contour overhead. "Temple of the Rising Dawn" growls like a dragon ascending through the mist while polyrhythmic layers of gongs, gamelans, and flutes entwine around lyrics which entice the listener to "follow me, out of darkness." Gentle chimes and flute set a more mysterious mood on "Silkworm." Singer Ning Lertlam's lovely voice gives the album a feeling of feminine continuity throughout, while other featured vocalists include Bibiana Ursula and members of the Pa Oh hill tribe. Downes gives hints about the sources of his samples -- such as instruments and vocals from the royal palace in Bangkok and gongs from the Wat Doi Sethep temple in Northern Thailand -- but the bulk of the liner notes discusses efforts to save the country's forests. (A portion of the proceeds are donated to aid conservation efforts). Overall, Silk Mind is most at home on the dance floor, and the set suitably ends with DJ Angelo's energetic and sparkling "dub remix" of the track "Omniscient/Siam."