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[2011 in Review: SoundSound Shaman, ‘Breathe’]

It’s not just a clever moniker—Rami Abu-Sitta (a Buffalonian now in residing San Diego) truly is a Sound Shaman. With great attention to sonic detail, SoundSound Shaman fashions his own miniature worlds on this impressive EP. Natural sounds are hidden in every corner of Breathe including a 51-second opening segment of falling rain which the artist recorded from his own window while residing on Buffalo’s Elmwood Avenue. That cascading intro then leads gently into the enigmatic and dreamlike “Raining Down Nonsense,” a slow unfolding of chiming keyboards and resounding nonsensical voices. A fitting way for this ethereal EP to begin.

Doubling the first word in his stage name perhaps signifies SoundSound Shaman’s penchant for miniscule grandeur. While that might seem like an oxymoron when speaking about an ambient artist, Breathe’s majesty lies in Abu-Sitta’s ability to maximize the minimal. Using little more than the droning hum of his voice, he leaves space on “Flying Over Tibet” in which listeners can meditate, contemplate, or simply let the sounds reverberate.

Listening is one way to experience Breathe; thanks to Soundcloud, however, listeners can literally see the shape of these songs as they listen via the waveforms. This visual aide provides an interesting insight into the music: the bell-shaped cones of intensifying and decelerating power in “Rise,” the heartbeat flutters in the middle of “Flower Pedal Blooming” and so on. Keep those mental images—as well as the album’s title—in mind as you endure the echoing whirl of SoundSound Shaman.

  [vimeo:http://vimeo.com/28161468%5D

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Review by Patrick Hosken