This new work is a little different approach by world flute and
woodwind virtuoso Cornell Kinderknecht than his past CDs, in
that he teams up with Martin McCall, drummer and
percussionist. The result of that collaboration is a body of work
designed to allow you to go to your own place while listening, and to
take the journey that the music inspires you to take. Indeed, rather
than take a track title as the CD
title, Dreamtime stands
on its own as a description of the intent of the music within.
January 4, 2014
Dreamtime is the collaborative
effort of world flutist and instrumentalist Cornell
Kinderknecht and world percussionist and drummer Martin
McCall. The album is an elegant exploration of mostly Native
American-inspired melodic soundscapes which convey warmth,
contemplation and an innate healing spirit.
McCall's moving yet gentle ethnic percussion beautifully compliments
Kinderknect's Native and multicultural flutes and glistening ambient
textures throughout. A rejuvenating yet relaxing album, the music
of Dreamtime is perfectly suited for Spa therapies, Yoga
practice and other healing arts.
I find this album to be equally listenable in the early morning or
evening times. Much of the music seems to emanate like sunrays at dawn
as exemplified on the radiant "Big Sky", and at other times gently
sparkles like stars in the night sky as on the ethereal "Blue
Violet". Other favorites include the rhythmically pulsating "Gecko"
and the mysterious, voyage-like "Orion".
I feel Dreamtime is on par with the stylistically similar works
of Scott August, David & Steve Gordon and R. Carlos Nakai, and fans of
any of the afore mentioned artists are encouraged to take note of this
We hear some new instrument combinations in this work that beautifully
flow from one track to another, adding diversity to the mix and
helping to create different dreamscapes for the listener. The
simplicity of the mixes, however, allows you to still focus on the
messages within the music. The arrangements are predominantly
woodwinds, keyboards, and percussion. The percussion is subtle,
blending perfectly without competing for attention with the often
delicate woodwinds. The inclusion of the soprano saxophone was an
intriguing addition to the woodwind mix.
The description on the jacket of the CD is perfectly accurate:
“The flowing melodies and subtle harmonies of Cornell
Kinderknecht's flutes, reeds and keyboards blend with the moving
rhythms of Martin McCall's drums and percussion to take you to a
place where all things are possible — a place where you can be
at peace while feeling energized — a place of mystique and
wonder — a place of fantasy where you can play and let your
imagination run free...”
I found that statement to be absolutely perfect for this work. That
was, indeed, my own experience as I listened.
Zone Music Reporter
, December 2014
Wind and Wire
, December 2014
CORNELL KINDERKNECHT and MARTIN MCCALL
Little Greyhound Music
Dreamtime (from wind
instrumentalist and keyboard player Cornell Kinderknecht and
drummer/percussionist Martin McCall is pleasingly paradoxical. I can't
remember the last time (if ever) that I heard an album that has so
much percussion and rhythms (some of them frenetic in tempo) that
still managed to be so calming and so soothing to jangled nerves,
without revving up the listener and inducing him or her to get up and
dance. I've listened to this superb recording at least ten times and I
still don't understand how these two masterful musicians did it. I
suppose at this point I should just relax and enjoy the beautiful,
serene, ride. And it is a wonderfully relaxing journey into a land of
assorted world influences and lovely flowing melodies (the latter
quality which Kinderknecht exhibited on his last solo release,
It's important for me to list the array of instruments that each
artist plays so you can appreciate each of these performers'
virtuosity. Kinderknecht's primary instruments are of the wind
variety, and on Dreamtime he plays Native flutes, soprano sax,
bansuri flute, English horn, Anasazi flute, and keyboards (and he
utilizes his keyboards masterfully!). McCall's list is even longer and
includes djembe, shakers, taiko drum, tom-toms, electronic timpani,
cymbals, gong, bells, tambourine, methal, drum head, udu, bass drums,
and doumbek. Phew! I wonder what his studio looks like!
Eight of the twelve tracks feature Kinderknecht playing Native flute, so it's obvious that many of the album's songs have a Native influence present, but there is no way I would describe this as strictly a Native flute fusion release. It's not just because Kinderknecht doesn't fall back solely on Native elements in these songs, but it's also about how McCall uses non-Native instruments in laying down his rhythms and beats. One could (and perhaps should) label this music as cross-cultural, since the wind instruments and the percussion/drums are not always geographically aligned.
Two things struck me as I delved into the music
on Dreamtime. One was how adeptly Kinderknecht incorporates his
keyboard textures and embellishments. It's textbook in how he fleshes
out the overall sound of the songs (all but one track features some
keyboards). The artist knows just how to balance these soundscape
colorings into the mix so that they are heard but never
dominate. That's a true artisan skill. The other, and stronger, sonic
element is the ultra-deft approach to mixing so that McCall's vast
assortment of percussion and drums never overpower the overall
meditative/serene mood of the music. It's almost uncanny and I don't
know if I have ever heard anything like it in all my years of
I'm not sure trying to describe individual tracks would adequately
convey how special Dreamtime is, but I can at least attempt to
paint a written picture. "Big Sky" features a pensive Native
flute line buoyed by swirling synthesizer shadings and propelled by a
rapid tempo drum beat on dejembe. "One Summer" has the drum beats
played on doumbek in a sedate, almost mournful tempo, while the lead
flute is held by an Indian bansuri, which lends the song an overall
air of mystery and the exotic. On "Marble Falls," McCall flexes his
musical muscles and incorporates an assemblage of taiko drums,
tom-toms, electronic timpani, cymbals and gongs, while Kinderknecht
returns to the Native flute and layers in even more pronouncedly
swirling ambient-ish keyboards. At this point in the recording,
adroit listeners will clue in to how these two artists have meshed
their talents to yield a truly symbiotic listening experience in how
the melody lines intertwine with the layers of rhythms and beats. The
album takes a celestial turn on "Voyager" as Kinderknecht's soprano
sax floats above layers of spacy synthesizer soundsculptures and
shimmering textures with McCall's subdued taiko drums pounding out a
subtle slow-tempo beat. Kinderknecht goes solo on "Solitude" playing
both Native flute and English horn with piano accompaniment as well as
orchestral string embellishments. "Dragonfly" hints at Indian motifs
with bansuri flute and tamboura drones while ethnic rhythms beat out a
Dreamtime is a special recording — a true original in how it marries assorted ethnic percussion with wind instruments and synthesizers to craft an album that manages to calm the disquiet mind with a unique blend of melody and rhythm. Kinderknecht and McCall exhibit an uncommon symmetry in their shared musical vision and the result is an album that would be ideal for massage, relaxation, yoga, or even just…well, waking dreaming.
Another aspect of this work which I was impressed with, is that you
can simply put the CD player on repeat and continue to listen —
again and again — without tiring of the music. That is a really
important quality in good listening music to me.
Track impressions are something I will attempt to share, although I
know that this music is going to be heard differently by different
people, with their own individual impressions and life experiences
guiding them through the work. That is the way this music impacts the
There are 12 tracks of mostly longer pieces, about 70 minutes of
music, making this a relatively full CD which is one of the tests of
value for me, as a buyer of music.
Track 1, Big Sky (run time 6:25).
This piece is like a stroll in the desert. You feel a large expanse of
space, while walking and seeing the environment around you. Perhaps
this is a tribute to nature as a part of the melody, taking you away
from human civilization. Portions of this reminded me of my time in
the Mojave, with parts recalling visions of the desert twilight.
Track 2, One Summer (run time 6:33).
This piece takes me to my "quiet place," that place we all have found
at one time or another, to escape to and be alone with our own
thoughts. It probably doesn't matter where that place is… you will
find it again while listening to this piece. For me, there was never
anything quite like a grove of Australian pines as a teenager in
FL. Once inside that grove, the sound of the wind in the trees
prevented any other sounds from penetrating. It was totally as though
I was completely alone.
Track 3, Marble Falls (run time 6:39).
For those not familiar with that place, this may lead you
elsewhere. But for those who have been there (near Austin, Texas),
this piece may bring back fond memories of that special small town in
the Texas Hill Country near Lake LBJ. This is Texas Bluebonnet and
Indian Paintbrush wildflower country during the months of May and
June, a time of year and a place where romance can blossom.
Track 4, Voyager (run time 6:14).
The soprano sax creates a new sound in this track, one that is both
mysterious and longing at the same time. It speaks to me of new and
exotic places, creating a touch of blues without really being blues,
and perhaps the feeling and sense of new friendships and new
Track 5, Gecko (run time 5:46).
The interesting blend of bansuri and native flutes takes me somewhat back in time. The fluctuating rhythms send me on a journey of the ancients. It is a very spiritual piece but with some headiness in the rhythms. This piece reminds me of the one and only "vision" I ever experienced, after finding the native flute as an instrument, where I also traveled back in time, and where I experienced various original peoples before the Europeans arrived in America.
Track 6, Solitude (run time 4:59).
This piece reminds me of someone seeking to find their way — soul
searching — first, with a quiet and deliberate manner, then with a
little inner agitation, and then back to quiet deliberation. This
track has only woodwinds and keyboards without percussion. I hear the
voice of the flute in this piece as an echo from another song where it
was also played in an earlier CD. It is a distinctive flute.
Track 7, Blue Violet (run time 4:27).
This track has a hint of a bluesy sound. It is an interesting and
complex mix of sounds, with a very earthy kind of sound layered over
the lightness of other sounds that makes you think of synergies. This
is perhaps one of the more difficult tracks for me to describe —
it is best to be experienced.
Track 8, Dragonfly (run time 6:29).
This piece has a trancelike effect with the sound of classical (East)
Indian music blended into it. Perhaps it might be your doorway into an
exotic place that you have only visited in your mind. The melody lifts
and darts along the way, reminding you of the dragonfly and the
renewal that the dragonfly symbolizes.
Track 9, Opening (run time 5:51).
This piece has harp-like keyboards interwoven with a deep flute, which leaves me with visions of pixies flitting about in the distance. It's as though the flute is calling to the pixies, who are only occasionally paying attention. You feel as though it's twilight, and you hear the impression of a gentle stream lazily running along nearby within the forest surrounding you.
Track 10 Peace symbol (run time 5:08).
This is a very introspective piece to me, leading me to ask myself
what mistakes have I made? What relationships have been mishandled?
What did I do well, and what did I do poorly? What was the meaning of
my life? There is a somber quality to the quest for inner peace here.
Track 11 Orion (run time 4:24).
This piece uses some astral effects to take you on a tour of the night skies, into those places where the stars shine brightly and clearly, unaffected by human civilization. Perhaps one of the brighter pieces on this work, this tune allows you to wander through your mind's visions on a carefree trip.
Track 12 Equanimity (run time 4:55).
This piece reminds me of the nomads of the earth, moving from place to place in search of food and personal well being. It is a deliberate and unrushed journey, but one that is necessary to their way of life. The journey gives all something to look forward to as they move towards a place where they will find more life sustaining resources.
Final thoughts: That completes my impressions of this work and I certainly have enjoyed the mind journeys I have taken while listening. I heartily recommend this work for those who want their music to provide them with relief from stress and the modern world, and who seek some quiet time for introspection, and, of course, Dreamtime.
You can find Dreamtime and Cornell Kinderknecht's other works at his
website www.cornellk.com There, you can also
find biographical information and a performance calendar. Cornell's
music is also available
at Amazon.com, CDBaby.com, iTunes and most of your other favorite online
stores and music services.