Spirit spent four years as a rock quintet, followed by a quarter-century of being a format for showcasing guitarist, singer, and songwriter Randy California. The major labels lost interest by the mid-'80s, but California continued to perform and to make numerous recordings in his own studio until his death by drowning at the start of 1997. Cosmic Smile, released in 2000, was the first posthumous album to be drawn from his archives, and Sea Dream, the second, marks (according to Mick Skidmore, who assembled it) the beginning of a series of further ones. At first glance, the title seems unfortunate to the point of being in bad taste, yet Skidmore writes that "Sea Dream is not meant to portray some dark fascination with the macabre but was used because one of the unreleased projects that Randy had been working on at one point was a 'spiritual' album entitled Sea Dream."
With this new album (celebrating 20 years of collaboration with his French label Dixiefrog) Neal Black once again defies the stereotypical expectations of being a Texas Guitar Slinger. His lyrical content leans more towards a Bluesy version of Bukowski and his unique approach to Lead Guitar still tastes of Texas but comes closer to sounding like a Turbo-Charged Chris Rea or Peter Green.
Another TD soundtrack that saw the daylight years after its recording was Deadly Care, music for a TV movie that was composed and recorded back in 1987 by Edgar Froese and Chris Franke but not released until 1992. The CD contains all of the music as supplied by TD to Universal Television. "Deadly Care" is a haunting, detached and at times a melancholic soundtrack. It's dark soundscapes are apropos and the quality of the musical performances are very refined. Edgar Froese and friends entice listeners with an ominously profound, gloomy but high quality CD, namely, Deadly Care.
New age music and ancient shrines seem to work well together, as evidenced by top-selling concert CDs and videos (now DVDs) by Keiko Matsui and Yanni over the years. Kitaro's idea for a greatest-hits collection performed at the sacred Yakushiji Temple in Nara, the ancient Japanese capitol, is more about beauty and intimacy than sheer spectacle, although it would be fun to imagine this dramatic presentation in its native setting. The music on this double disc was taken from three live concerts in the summer of 2001, the first concerts ever presented in the temple proper. Not that you need the background to be swept away into the dreamy mysticism that defines Kitaro's twist on the universe, but this temple is the resting place of the ashes of Genjo Sanzo, the seventh century monk who walked the Silk Road from Japan to India, returning from India with the sacred texts that introduced Buddhism into China and Japan.