On Reading the Liner Notes to Lunar Drive: Baha'i black top techno, Pueblo trance and high desert trip-hop
The liner notes for Lunar Drive's 1996 Here at Black Mesa Arizona include the quote by Abdu'l-Baha that forms the basis of the song "Transcend the Murmur." Kevin Locke sings on "Stacked Up Clouds," that incorporates a traditional Lakota melody. A flute sample from "Lakota Prayer" by Kevin is used in the song "MoBrigde, South Dakota," and his vocals are included in "Crying, Looking For You." A spoken sample by Phil Lane, Sr., is part of "The Sky So High." A picture of Kevin hoop-dancing is included in the centerfold collage. The album reached #5 on the Billboard World Music chart. There are nine tracks on the album.
There is the familiar face of Franklin Khan on the Lunar Drive's "All Together Here." Phil Lane contributes to the vocals on "Square World, and Franklin Khan on "A Great Traditional Word." -gw
While producing dance music in London, Hoover began to experiment with Navajo melodies. During visits to Big Mountain, Ariz., on the Navajo Nation, Benally's voice inspired the first song for the release. "Jon can really express that human feeling of desperation versus hope," Hoover said.
After being hit by a car in London, she returned to Flagstaff to recuperate. While living with her mother on Lunar Drive, she met Minkler, a neighbor.
"Sam knows lots of traditional songs from his family and he is also a natural composer and improviser. I would put together some beats and then he improvised new melodies over them. Or he would sing songs and I would try to build other music around his songs."
Hoover and Minkler performed in London last summer and young people were soon humming Navajo and Lakota melodies. The music mix, released by Nation Records in England, was described by "The Guardian"as black top techno, Pueblo trance and high desert trip-hop.
"Sampling Native American songs and chants into a prefab dance beat would have been one thing, but to have the various elements rippling into and around each other like this is really special," "The Guardian" wrote in a recent review.
"Here at Black Mesa, Arizona," has been broadcast in Latin America on the BBC World Service, in England on BBC regional stations and on local radio stations in Portugal and Germany.
Preparing for an upcoming tour of the South Pacific, Locke said folk art is a tried and true means to express what is in one's heart. At the core of one's being is the universal language of the spirit. "This is the basis which connects all people." Locke said he seeks to infuse his music with the teachings of Baha'u'llah, the prophet-founder of the Baha'i Faith. The Baha'i Faith teaches the oneness of religion and mankind. Baha'u'llah taught the arts are a gift from the Creator.
Music can take people to an entirely different level of consciousness and transcend prejudices and divisiveness, he said. "As a Baha'i, my goal is to celebrate the nobility of the human spirit through music and dance."