2009 / Sound Manipulation
Review by Michael Debbage
For those of you that have not yet made the conversion from DVD to Blue Ray or your old tube TV to a flat screen then check out this disc. You may be asking yourself by now if this reviewer has gone loony wondering what has this got to do with music? Well the production gifts of Mars Lasar when compared to his peers pops like a 3D movie bringing even more brilliant colors to his outstanding music. Playing tribute to the Great North Western Sierra Nevada wilderness will either take you down a vivid memory lane of your own experience or present you with the urge to want to have your own firsthand knowledge of what the landscape is all about.
This is not the first time that Lasar has played tribute to the backyard of America’s beautiful landscape. He has previously explored this theme courtesy of the 1996 mystical recording The Music Of Olympic National Park as well as the more recent and glorious Yosemite- Valley Of The Giants. There is no avoiding comparing the experience but just as the subject matter has its own mystical and stunning typography so does Tahoe Spirit. It would be safe to say that it takes elements of both of his prior tributes with a greater emphasis on the Washoe Native Indian courtesy of guest artist David Rose’s traditional native flutes and Lasar’s deep percussive embellishments.
For those of you that may not embrace the Native Indian musical themes do not allow this to discourage you from exploring Lasar’s latest project. While he adopts the culture this does not prevent him from making the music accessible. This can be experienced via the opening track “Tahoe Legend” that is rich in detail driven by the percussion experience and its sublime mystical melody. The same can be said for “The Great Spirit” but this time the melodies come courtesy of David Rose’s native flutes.
But what makes Tahoe Spirit unique is Lasar’s keen ability to integrate Native Indian themes with mainstream musical influences. Check out Rose’s flute work on “Wild Horses” that amalgamates with Lasar’s acoustic guitar work that is reminiscent of a folksy Led Zeppelin arrangement. If mainstream is your preferred choice then take a walk to “Alpine Meadows” which is co-written and also features the spiritual yet sultry vocals of Cadence Spalding. Equally beautiful is the shimmering simplicity of “Emerald Bay” that shows Mars Lasar at his reflective best.
Tahoe Spirit may not have the instantaneous appeal of Yosemite- Valley Of The Giants but that does not make it any less successful and perhaps more endearing and enduring. In fact Lasar effectively takes the accessible ingredients of the aforementioned and sprinkles it with the mysticism of The Music Of Olympic National Park creating the unique concoction of Tahoe Spirit. Lasar is so gifted that it is more likely he will run out of typographies to pay tribute to than his outstanding creative musical ideas.
July 3, 2010
Review by Kathy Parsons