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Mr. Ho's Orchestrotica: Third River Rangoon

"Exotica music is intended to put the listener in a walking dream state, an anodyne to the modern world in which one can retreat in a tropical haze to the primordial state in which the sun, the moon, the wind and the rain control the destiny of the day." Brother Cleve

For anyone unfamiliar with the work of Mr. Ho (aka Brian O'Neill) the above description is as good as any when describing his work. 2010 saw the release of The Unforgettable Sounds of Esquivel which was a fine album in its own right and the trend continues with the recently released Third River Rangoon.

Third River Rangoon has a slightly mellower feel than Sounds of Esquivel but no less interesting. Mr. Ho's vibraphone and percussion come to the forefront on all eleven tracks. His playing is soothing and tasteful and his vibraphone often takes on a dreamlike quality. I found it easy to immerse myself in this music making it an ideal album to chill out to. This should come as no surprise as the music is heavily influenced by the Mexican king of lounge/space age pop Juan Esquivel although this time around the compositions are mostly original pieces.

The record starts on a soothing note with the title track, a subtle beat and loads of vibraphone resonating through the air. It has a very tropical feel and a subtle spaciness that should appeal to fans of progressive music. Many of the album's songs feature exotic sounding Eastern themes like the riveting "Thor's Arrival" with outstanding flute work by Geni Skendo and the mysterious "Arab Dance", with a slightly darker atmosphere. On "Phoenix, Goodbye" layers of percussion makes for a texturally diverse listen while on "Autumn Digging Dance" Mr. Ho returns to more Middle Eastern soundscapes.

Third River Rangoon is a fine follow up to The Unforgettable Sounds of Esquivel. If you are searching for laid back, mellow musical explorations Third River Rangoon should fill that niche nicely.

Track Listing:
1. Third River Rangoon (4:36)
2. Thor's Arrival (4:55)
3. Maika (3:23)
4. Colorado Waltz (4:22)
5. Arab Dance (4:29)
6. Phoenix, Goodbye (5:12)
7. Terre Exotique (4:03)
8. Autumn Digging Dance (3:12)
9. Moai Thief (3:58)
10. Lonesome Aku of Alewife (3:51)
11. Lyman '59 (2:02)

Added: September 5th 2011
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 1813
Language: english

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