Friday, August 20, 2021

Album Review: Mirror of Desire by Ananta Govinda

Review by Abdul Yamani

Responding to current times, inspirational Author, Musician, Vedic Science and Bhakti Yoga practitioner, Ananta Govinda, enwrapped himself in his latest project, a fantasy novel Mirror of Desire, and an epic album by the same name. Ananta produced the album as the accompanying music to the first in a trilogy of the novel which he released as an e-Book and in printed form in November of 2020. The eight tracks comprised of all original music are themed around the story’s adventures.

Ananta grew up along the banks of the great Volga River in Russia. His artistic personality was formed at an early age with the encouragement of his father, as he studied the piano and the great classical composers.

“I truly believe that rediscovering our common heritage will help us overcome the tendency to divide and see each other on opposite sides of life” affirms Ananta. In the allegorical storyline of the Mirror of Desire trilogy, dueling wizards compete for access to the mysterious land of the Pyramid. You can read more about Ananta’s fascinating artistic and spiritual journey on his website.

The title track “Mirror of Desire” opens the album with harmonized Sanskrit chants performed by Ananta Govinda. His voice and style are very pleasant to the ear, and somewhat reminiscent of Jon Anderson of the progressive English rock band YES. The song invites the listener to look inward for self-revelation. A sublime ambient guitar is nicely weaved into the fabric of the song by Alex Liapin, the legendary Russian rocker (Sir Paul McCartney, DDT, Aquarium), with many other accomplished artists and music engineers adding their touches in percussion, drums, sax, as well as production and mastering.

Infused with Reggae-style rhythm and chants, the second track “Self-Writing Book” with lyrics on destiny and karma, features reggae hitmakers Indubious, which adds a fun twist to the song while at the same time seems to captivate with consuming sounds and lyrical nudgings. The third track “Golden Goddess” features more world music stars such as Will Calhoun on drums and percussion, Alan Tower on the hung, and John Wubbenhurst on bansuri flute. It is a “prayer for protection” as a beautiful and melodic, quiet singing hymn, expresses the essence of the divine feminine energy.

Beautiful vocals and violin added by Lili Haydn (of Grammy Award-winning band Opium Moon); guitar, flute, Tibetan-style throat singing and deep, flowing Indian rhythms come together to create an introspective and entrancing listening experience on “Mazes of the Mind”, the fourth track on the album.

The enigmatic Indian infusion intensifies as we go deeper into the heart of the album (or story). “Onto the Timelessness” grows in mystery combining strings, operatic vocals, as hypnotic rhythms build suspense. We pass through the gates to discover the mystical “River of Time” which divides the natural reality from the spiritual realm. Vocal textures and improvisations by Pierre Edel, the Voice of France, and the Voice of Russia (both 2014) complement Ananta’s vocals on this piece. Multi-layered textures were created and added by Alex Liapin with saxophone performed by Scott Page (Pink Floyd, Supertramp, Toto).

“Room of Darshan”, a very short piece, features atmospheric guitars, soft sax and string orchestration as in a moment of awe and meditation.

The album closes with “Mantra of ParaDesha”, a beautiful version of the Hare Krishna Mahamantra, with the introductory chant being performed by the Indian Classical singer Gopal Krishna Balaram. It is an engaging and enthralling piece which sweeps the listener in its flowing harmonies and trancelike rhythms.

Mirror of Desire is a beautiful work of art; an interlocking of cultural, spiritual, and artistic aspects through music that transcends life as we perceive it, revealing our true self and connecting us with all things universal.

~Abdul Yamani for Journeyscapes Radio

For more information, please visit Ananta Govinda's website. Mirror of Desire is also available at Amazon, Apple Music, and more.