2008 / Real Music
Review by Michael Debbage
German-born artist Karunesh migrated to the exotic Hawaiian Islands back in 1992 and clearly his tropical retreat has resulted in some very inspiring music. Merging his more commercial sensibilities with mystical meditative qualities, Karunesh has recorded four valuable albums for Real Music, highlighted by the exceptional Call of the Mystic, released back in 2004. Enlightenment represents the label’s effort to encapsulate his four recordings in one tidy package.
The album has a total of eleven tracks with the prominent instrumentation being the percussion, the sitar, the bansuri, the violin and the guitar with label-mate Govi making three separate appearances on the guitar. The four albums are highlighted by three tracks each, with the exception of 2002’s Nirvana Café that contributes only two tracks. This comes by way of the low key “Keeper Of Mystery” and the mystical “Returning To Now” that also include vocal embellishments. Meanwhile, the organic and more stripped down “Moon Temple” underscores Karunesh’s Real Music debut, Zen Breakfast.
The pure strength of "Call Of The Mystic" must have made choice selection more difficult, attempting to differentiate one song being better than the other. The only oversight was not selecting more from this powerful album. Meanwhile, the selection process was much important when choosing from the weaker Joy Of Life. Prudently, the label wisely chose the intoxicating “Flowing Bamboo,” but
missed the mark by overlooking the outstanding “Return Of The Rains."
That said, completing a compilation is never an easy task as someone’s favorite track is always overlooked. Nevertheless, for those of you not so familiar with his trade, the label does an effective job in summarizing the music of Karunesh, making Enlightenment a good place to start. But if we are being real here, just as effective would be to purchase the pinnacle Call of the Mystic. Either way, this is Karunesh at his best, merging his memorable melodies with his mystical meditative undertones.
August 8, 2008