Review: Sika and Phil Thornton – Seven Rings (released Dec. 17, 2016)


Phil Thornton has had a long career in music, as a member of prog rock band Stallion in the 70’s, psychedelic synthpop band Expandis in the 80’s, and space rock/world dance-music band Mandragora in the 90’s, to name a few. He’s also had a prolific solo career since the earlier 80’s, having released over 30 albums. Phil’s music combines elements of deep ambient, new age, psychedelic, tribal fusion and soundtrack and world music. His latest album, the all instrumental Seven Rings, is a collaboration with didgeridoo master Sika, who also plays native flutes, bullroarer, ocarina, rattles and provides nature recordings. For his part, Thornton plays synths, e-bow guitar, chicken flute, and recorders on the album.

Seven Rings draws on many of the themes and motifs Phil has explored over the years, this time with an distinctly earthier vibe thanks to Sika’s acoustic and natural sounds. Sika’s didgeridoo, especially, provides trance inducing drones that perfectly compliment Thornton’s vast electronic soundscapes. The tracks range in length from 5-minutes to almost 12-minutes, giving the musicians time to stretch out and explore and also giving the listener time to truly sink into the music. This is important for this kind of music. Without identifiable verses and choruses to cue the listener, the music allows instead for the listener’s mind to wander as it experiences the sounds, providing an aural journey that exists both in the natural world and inner space. Each track is part of that journey, as the album continues to evolve throughout, from the pure, relaxing ambiance of the opening track Consciousness Shift to the slow, throbbing pulse of the epic Forest Spirit, to the dance vibrations of the final two tracks, the powerful Concentric Circles and the luminous Children of the Pleiades.

Whether you want to relax and meditate or just add some positive vibes to your day, Seven Rings is a deeply satisfying and pleasurable experience.

For more info and to stream or purchase the album in digital or CD format, visit: https://philthornton.bandcamp.com/album/seven-rings

Phil Thornton’s website is at: http://www.philthornton.com/

Sika’s website can be found at: http://sikamusic.com/

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