Reviewed by Chinmaya Dunster
Firstly, all fans like me of Shastro’s smooth, sexy and timeless music must welcome him back for his first album in many years. Secondly let’s dispose of the single negative: an uncharacteristically kitschy cover – perhaps he’s been spending too much time amidst the baroque in Italy?
But it’s the music that counts, and ‘Lovers Night’ is classic Shastro: four long tracks, each meandering around a simple theme, allowing the listener to sink into a zone where beginnings and endings are meaningless.
The album travels over the same territory as Shastro’s previous CDs, and each individual track sounds much the same overall as the next. Whether, as the title implies, it is music to share in moments of intimacy between lovers, I can’t really say (as a professional musician I prefer not to have the distraction of music in such times). But as a support for relaxation it feels ideal.
Shastro and I often joke that he just pretends to play instruments. For someone like me who’s spent thirty years on a single one, it’s simply uncanny. I’ve seen him pick up an instrument for the first time and within three weeks he’s recording or playing a live gig on it. ‘Lovers Night’ sees Shastro return to clarinet as a major feature. He hasn’t played one in more than ten years (since ‘Zen Notes’), but a fortnight’s practice and here he is sounding as fluid and convincing as a master.
His guitar playing has the same ‘magic rabbit out of a hat’ feel. He’d be the last person to claim to be a guitarist, yet the simple arpeggios that underlie much of these tracks, as well as the sinuous melody lines, display an astonishing confidence. As Shastro ‘pretends’ he transmits a clear musical message: “You can relax now, I know exactly where I’m going (nowhere!). Let’s enjoy the journey together.”
Chinmaya Dunster, Osho News
1. Under the Moonlight 9:48
2. Lovers Night 15:43
3. Letting Go 12:43
4. Coming back Home 10:19
Shastro was born in Italy and studied to become a fashion photographer in the late 80s. He took sannyas in 1981 and went to Pune in 1986 to see Osho. He photographed Osho in various occasions but also played music for him. He is, together with Sirus, the composer of the music for the No Dimensions Meditation. He is the owner of the USA based label Malimba Records where he has released – to date – 12 of his own CDs and many of other sannyasin musicians. He lives now in Tuscany, Italy. www.shastro.com – www.malimba.com