The Wizard – Roma Nebo (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Humans have been making music for a long time. From the ritualistic evocation of ancient gods to the choral wonders of medieval religion, through classical grandeur to the explosion of contemporary sound which technological advances have allowed. It’s been a long and fascinating journey. The Wizard is an album which seems to short cut that journey, using modern studio techniques, synths and sampling, to create an instant corridor back into the earliest music. It’s a fascinating idea, that a modern music maker can collect the sound and styles of primitive music and weave them through trance-like beats and hypnotic rhythms to create something both of the here-and-now and which echoes with man’s earliest sonic urges. And that is exactly what is happening here.

There is something wonderfully shamanic at work here. Not the ritualistic pull of the modern rock god whipping their followers up into a frenzy, it is much purer than that. The ancient chanting, the primal drumming, the delicate flutters of flute and exotic chimes of the hand pan, it all speaks of a time when mankind was still at one with the earth, before civilisation and the race for progress took us down a separate path.

Roma Nebo finds room to regularly deviate from the more tribalistic and trance-like path. Florentinas, featuring the gorgeous tones of Luciana Peru, feels more contemporary but reminding us that in the traditional music that we hear around us today is carrying the spark of whatever indigenous sound runs through the blood of that region’s people. World music is not just music found around the world, it is music of the world and an echo of an older earth.

Trinity chimes with the sound of the ancient orient merged with the modern occident, Galaxy’s Calling Me flutters and floats to the breeze of South American pipes and beguiling interludes which seem like the sound of the forest through which that music ebbs and flows and Reality returns us to a spacey, trippy, intense and mind-bending trance state.

The Wizard reminds us of the power of music and how it has always played a part in the ritual and ceremony of mankind, consciously and otherwise. Today’s ritual of donning your best clothing and applying your make-up whilst listening to pop music’s four-four beat on a Friday night is a ritual of a kind. It isn’t a million miles away from ancient, more earth-bound, shamanic rituals or devotional acts. But whether you are getting ready to party or thanking the powers that be for a successful hunt or harvest, music has always played a part. This album just reminds us of its depth and diversity and hopefully helps connect us to our older, more spiritual selves.


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