Mike McLatchey 17-September-2002 Seven Levels Of Man

Ojas' Seven Levels of Man is a late 70s American electronic album that generally predates the whole new age movement of the 80s with its chakra-related theme. Ojas is primarily multi-instrumentalist Steve McLinn who has created an album not too far from the early works of contemporary Michael Stearns in his combination of electronics and acoustics. The album is split into two sides with the title track making up the first of them. This work almost seems like a suite of different themes as it segues from electronic noise making to acoustic instrumentation (for example, there is one harp segment) to sequences to vocal effects. Such diversity is pleasing in its individual parts, but it works against the cohesion to some extent. I suppose there are probably seven parts that make up each level of man, but to be honest I never counted. "Song of the Matter," side B, is a bit more cohesive and gentle over all, without such disparate segment splicing. Most of the piece consists of subtle sequencer movement, perhaps similar to that on side two of Tangerine Dream's Stratosfear. It bubbles and meanders, but doesn't do a whole lot more. Generally there are a lot of nice analog electronics and acoustic accompaniment here, but the compositions themselves limit to some extent what can be done with the instrumentation. It's a decent album overall, but compared to electronic works from across the Atlantic, it pales considerably.

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