Shantano Irad Cruz, the brains behind and sole performer on Clash Of Tides, is a multi-instrumentalist, performer, producer and recording engineer who lives and works along the Oregon coast and has done some work with guitarist Stanley Jordan. This recording, one of three self-released discs during the summer of 2004, features Shantano performing all of the instruments. These include but are not limited to soprano and tenor saxophones, a variety of flutes, guitars, bass, drum set, Brazilian and African percussion and a variety of Roland and Yamaha MIDI keyboard controllers.The concept behind Clash of Tides is, in the words of Shantano, "the predicament of humanity at the End of Days. To produce thought provoking content so as to stir up a spiritual vibe in listeners." The eight tracks accurately reflect this concept through the use of repeated chordal drones, at times the use of free jazz, generally medium tempos, lots of open space and percussion layering in regular ostinato patterns. It is not far off to reflect upon this music that of Tibetan monks, conjoined with other meditative musics of the world, transported to an updated 21st century soundscape.
The first track on the 33-minute disc, Clash of Tides (Sea of Humanity), wherein the tides represent the major religions of the world (Christendom, Islam, Hindu, Judaism, Buddhism), opens with a wide variety of strongly stated percussive hits which accelerate into a steady world-music groove-like pattern. On top of this bed two saxophone lines and light chordal accompaniment, based on a two-chord minor-major 7th modality, are added. Shantano writes the soprano sax, here playing a repeated and non-changing short motive, is "saying a phrase from heaven," which is joined by the tenor saxophone, here playing freely improvised lines, "screaming back to ask help for humanity." While this may sound, upon reading the words, like an impossible concept to pull off, Shantano does indeed aurally represent this view. Written on the day the Iraq war started, there is sincerity to this music few composers achieve.
For the most part percussion predominates in the mix on all tracks. Working within this construct there are some high moments. The free jazz of Solara Batucache’, is a nice diversion from the mostly static melodic and chordal works found throughout all tracks. Also Light of Life, with its heavy backbeat mambo/bolero feel provides a wonderful underpinning for the two saxophone duet.
While much of the music is repetitive, which is to be expected within the meditative and spiritual context of the recording, none of the individual tunes lasts so long as to become wearing on the listener. An altogether interesting disc.