Album Review: Vision Songs, Vol. 1 [Reissue] by Laraaji
Fairly Good, Based on 4 Critics
AllMusic - 90 Based on rating 9/10
Laraaji is a master of countless instruments, and his music has explored numerous styles and moods, but he's probably best known for his hypnotic instrumental works utilizing hammered dulcimer and zither, particularly his Eno-produced opus Ambient 3: Day of Radiance (1980). However, he possesses a rich, commanding voice, and on 1984's Vision Songs, Vol. 1, he recorded an album's worth of avant-garde devotional synth pop songs that sound like nothing else on Earth.
"I realised very early that being a child was a captive situation and music gave me wings to escape from the tyranny of the adults and move into other dimensions," says Laraaji at the beginning of the short film Eternity Or Bust. The American multi-instrumentalist's music wouldn't generally strike you as childlike. His electric zither playing may be full of joy and wonder, but his music overall is nuanced and mature.
The new-age renaissance of the past few years has been especially beneficial to Edward Larry Gordon, who since 1980 has been better known to noise and new-age fans alike as Laraaji. Revived interest in the genre has led to an ongoing reassessment of his massive body of work. He’s played with Blues Control and Sun Araw, and his blissed-out explorations on zither and bells have even been the subject of remixes.
Since the late 1970's, Laraaji has developed a small but devoted peaceful global following while exploring creative cosmic expressions through ambient musical tones using open-tuned electric zither/harp. Most notably through his collaborations with ambient pioneer/innovator Brian Eno. But for those expecting some new blissed-out, ambient dream-tones should stop reading now and forget they ever heard of Vision Songs Vol.