'Meditation in Green' is the fourth album by electro-acoustic ambient artist Kelly David counting his 2014 collaboration with Steve Roach. The theme here is a psychedelic journey deep into the heart of Viet Nam's Mekong Delta, with rich ambient textures, manipulated field recordings, traditional instruments, and a blend of cultural and electronic percussion. This is the first work I've heard from Mr. Kelly, and it is always a pleasure to discover something new and interesting in this genre. My first impression even before knowing anything about the artist or this album (I often listen before reading the record label's one-sheet so as not to prejudice the initial performance) was that there is a marked similarity to Steve Roach's work. I was also happy that I wasn't hearing any definitive melodies that so often puts ambient into the New Age category. Pure ambient multi-textured drones, some natural sounding incidents and minimal rhythmic passages works great for me.
Seven lengthy tracks gives each piece the time required to evolve but not overstay their welcome. At nearly an hour, time will pass before you know it as the line between active and passive ambient blurs in the realm of imagination. There is spaciousness without necessarily being "spacey", and natural sounds without necessarily being "environmental". Even if you didn't know about the Mekong Delta theme, the album sound Buddha-influenced; zen-like yet multifaceted in its realization. Tranquility and calmness is juxtaposed with turbulence, and the familiar juxtaposed with the mysterious and unknown. There is no aimless meandering on 'Meditation in Green' as its purposeful path guides the listener to experience their own form of enlightenment without prodding or provocation. Kelly stays true to his vision and avoids temptation to digress into self-indulgent excursions that could have made this a lengthier, yet less satisfying experience. Seldom have I heard an album in this genre that I immediately took to without reservation, and it only gets better after each listening. 'Meditation in Green' is Kelly's first appearance on the Spotted Peccary label, and I hope there will be more in the future. Highly recommended!