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Choying Drolma: Cho

On paper, the blending might seem disreputable, the stuff of a shameless culture plundering, or possibly new age nightmare: the profound linear grace of a Tibetan nun chanting adorned with impressionistic pastiches of electric guitar and assorted sonic treatments. Instead, Cho (Hannibal 1404; 49:26), the new album from Choying Drolma and guitarist Steve Tibbetts is a magical thing, one of the finest and most mind-opening albums that the unique sound-painter Tibbetts has put his mind to. That’s saying something, considering Tibbetts’ quietly compelling discography, stretching back to his early self-produced and promoted projects and now including several fine ECM projects, all with a kind of unabashed idiom-mashing zeal, drawing on global folk traditions, open-ended modalism, and Hendrixian feedback caterwauls-of-sound, that might seem audacious if it weren’t for an underlying introspective tenderness.

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