Metamorphosis is the debut album from Arizona-based duo Nouveau Papillon (French for “new butterfly”). Comprised of eleven tracks spanning sixty-three minutes, the album features Mark Bensette Aux Bois on acoustic guitars, harp and keyboards and Hildi Thelen on Native American-style flutes and percussion. Together, the duo creates a harmonious fusion of new age, ethnic fusion and contemporary instrumental arrangements.

“Rebirth” beautifully introduces the album with the rooted vibes of Australian didgeridoo followed by guitar and Native flutes, effectively painting images of canyon sunsets and desert plains with its spirit-soaring melody. Following next is “Whispering Winds”, one of my favorite pieces on the album, which opens with swirling wind gusts and a haunting bell toll. Perfectly conveying an overcast sky that signals an approaching storm, subtle tribal percussion and washes of acoustic guitar accompany a gentle flute melody that seemingly rides lightly upon the wind. “Awakenings” is another favorite that begins with an oscillating drone, soon unfolding into an ethereal soundscape of sparkling acoustics and Celtic harp. Further complimented by soothing Native flute, the piece perfectly evokes the tranquil atmosphere of a deeply relaxing spa experience. Equally compelling is “Echo’s”, which effectively paints images of a mysterious night dance with its gypsy-like melody comprised of guitar, flute and percussive rhythm. I’m also particularly fond of “Dance of the Fireflies”, which opens with ambient textures and haunting spoken word. Evoking a sense of contemplation and mystery, the composition’s hypnotic arrangement of breezy synths, native flute, guitars and glistening tones, all seemingly envelope the listener under the dome of a starry, desert sky. Didgeridoo and flowing rainsticks lend a dreamy, shamanic vibe to the hypnotic “Chrysalis”, which are further accentuated by lulling harp and subtle tribal percussion.

Effectively blending complimentary musical essences of indigenous Australia, North America and at times, even Celtic lands, Metamorphosis is a thoroughly rewarding listening experience that’s certain to have far-reaching appeal! ~Candice Michelle

Links & Purchase: Nouveau Papillon, Amazon, iTunes, CD Baby, Google Play


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