Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Buddhist Liturgy of Tibet [World Music Library, 1992]
Fourteen monks climax a Tantric meditation by chanting the Sutra. Unison readings are augmented and sometimes driven by precise percussion, patches of multivoiced murmur (like the prelude to a Kiwanis luncheon) are less predictably accompanied, and maybe the coughs are on purpose too. Whatever else goes down, though, the voices are interrupted every four or five minutes by a din out of Wynton Marsalis's nightmares. Handbells and cymbals, rattles and boom-booms, deafening oboes and monster trumpets unite in music that at this distance evokes nothing so much as a four-car accident--and that over there connects to the divine. Meaning notwithstanding, it's an astonishing sound--and I've yet to play it for anyone who's reported back unimproved by the experience. Rock and roll! B+