Drala: Midnight Flower


Dharma Moon; 12 W. 37th St., New York, NY 10018; (212) 967-3300; www.dharmamoon.com.

Drala epitomizes the burgeoning movement toward spiritually rooted East-West music suitable for yoga (or other movement or contemplative practices), spacious relaxation, or focused listening. The band combines individual instrumental virtuosity, ensemble empathy, and a coherent artistic vision that unifies diverse elements of jazz, folk, world, and electronic music.

On this entrancing second CD, a constellation of superb musicians revolves around the two Drala mainstays: guitarist David Nichtern (best known as the composer of the Maria Muldaur hit "Midnight at the Oasis") and bansuri flute virtuoso Steve Gorn. Key contributors include percussionists Matt Kilmer and Shane Shanahan, bassist Mark Egan, and singer Falguni, who brings the recording to an inspirational close with her multitracked, Hindustani-shaded performance on the pulsating "Only Love (Can Save Us Now)." For all the richly textured instrumental washes and lounge-savvy electronics that put Midnight Flower on the chill-mix cutting edge, the lacy interactions between Gorn's breathy flutes and Nichtern's elegant guitar patterns remain Drala's primary allure. They're captivating, whether highlighted against subtle drones on the soothing "Home Again" or creating an understated Balinese–electronic music hybrid on the CD's dynamic centerpiece, the 15-minute "Moment to Moment."

Contributing Editor Derk Richardson writes about popular culture for Yoga Journal, Acoustic Guitar magazine, and SFGate (www.sfgate.com).