Reviewed by JR Lakini Ehrenfeld, Enlightened Practice Magazine, March/April 2005
Multi-instrumentalist Richard Brookens has produced five Yellow Bell CDs that fall into the categories of World Fusion and Meditation/Relaxation. His signature sounds of exotic bamboo flutes from India, China, and Egypt, combined with world percussion, have successfully carved out a unique niche in the world music scene for Yellow Bell and Richard Brookens. Recently, he has given permission to independent filmmaker Jon Braely, from Miami Beach, to select cuts from his catalogue for use as a soundtrack in his documentary film, The Empty Mind. The film focuses on the spiritual aspects of martial arts, with beautiful footage of the Purple Mountain Temple in the Wudang Mountains in western China, and The Shao-lin temple, among many other places in China and Japan. All but one of the cuts can be found on Yellow Bell CDs. Mushin, which means "empty mind", was composed and recorded specifically for the film. The film was recently awarded Best Florida Film by the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival.
This soundtrack CD contains excerpts of the longer originally released Yellow Bell pieces, effectively providing a sampler of what Richard Brookens and Yellow Bell have been producing for the last 10 years. Some of the original cuts are as long as 30 minutes. Bamboo flutes with didgeridoo, tablas, thumb pianos, clay pots, the transparent sound of moving water, and softly ringing bells create a gently moving soundscape with varied moods and textures. Many of the pieces evoke the western mountains of China with their spacious quality and unhurried development. Others come from a place of stillness and selfexamination common to the martial arts, as well as the practice of meditation. This soundtrack CD stands alone as a wonderfully balanced addition to the Yellow Bell CDs preceding it. If you have yet to experience Yellow Bell's music, this would be a great introduction to an emerging catalogue of fine spiritually engaging acoustic music for the discerning ear.
Read about the musicians and instrumentation of 'Empty Mind'.