In 1995, Jazz-Pop lyricist / vocalist Ron Boustead teamed up with Dance /R&B producer Michael McGregor to create this rich tapestry of sounds and images that nearly defies categorization. The idea was to combine sophisticated World-beat rhythms with deep, poetic lyrics, and craft a sonic landscape that invoked the feeling of dreams and spiritual journeys. At the time, artists like Deep Forest, Peter Gabriel and Dead Can Dance were exploring similar terrain, but the Circle Of Souls project went even further into the realms of subconscious and emotional longing.
The project was titled “Katabasis” (Cot-eh-bah-sis), a word from the ancient Greek roughly meaning “a conscious descent”. In this case that descent traveled into dark, hidden worlds of grief, longing, mid-life, romantic love, and the search for meaning. If this all sounds esoteric, McGregor’s earthy, groove-oriented production, and Boustead’s achingly heartfelt vocals draw the listener into their world and along on the journey with a subtle pop accessibility that comes across like a wise old storyteller. In fact, poets and storytellers like Robert Bly and Michael Meade were catalysts and references for much of the project’s lyrical content.
To enrich this “circle”, the talents of like-minded Southern California artists were added to the mix. Most notably, was the fiery electric violinist, Karen Briggs (Yanni). Her first-take solo on the piece, “So My Soul Can Sing” is a tour-de force of passion and virtuosity. A host of singers were brought in for chant-like vocals as well as a few standout feature performances. Pauline Wilson (Seawind) sings powerful counterpart vocals on the songs “The Answer” and “The Real World”. And Celtic chanteuse, Vikki Watson,solos with her beautiful rendering of “Wildflowers”. Phil Sheeran adds his nylon-stringed guitar on two tracks, bringing a sweet Brazilian flavor to the palette.
“Katabasis” has been greeted with praise by independent radio, reviewers and fans all over the globe, and the music has proven to be not only ground-breaking in it’s creation, but timeless in its message. This is a rare, limited-edition CD.