The Book of Thoth: A Musical Interpretation of the Tarot by Zehm Aloimbotm.jpg (26391 bytes) - Review by Michele Jackson

Music is something I listen to and either like or dislike. I rarely have to describe it beyond that, so please bear with me during this brief foray into the world of music reviews. This CD has six songs:

  1. Atu 0 - The Fool
  2. Atu I - The Magus
  3. Atu II - The Priestess
  4. Atu III - The Empress
  5. Atu XV - The Devil
  6. Atu XVII - The Star

The music was created using a midi keyboard. The composer meditates on the card and then plays whatever comes to mind. He then refines, orchestrates and edits the original. The first song is light and airy, as befits the Fool. The woodwind instrumentation helps you imagine the Fool walking down the road, gaily greeting those he passes, whistling this tune. The Magus begins with a melody that sounds Egyptian. It begins slowly, but picks up speed until the music becomes almost frenzied. It seems to emphasize the mercurial nature of the card. The stringed instruments and keyboard are more prominent in this song.The High Priestess begins with woodwinds that sound Asian. It is quite majestic and brings to mind a large and long corridor where the High Priestess can be seen in the distance, seated on her throne. The melody slows and becomes more solemn and mysterious. It lightens a bit just before the end, when we hear the Asian theme again.

The Empress begins softly, then quickly picks up in volume. The expansive tune brings to mind the pomp and circumstance one would find in a royal court. It then gets soft again and a complex keyboard melody begins. The volume builds, and we are again treated to imperial sounds that remind one of royalty. It ends on a light note from the flute. The Devil is one of the more complex songs. It is difficult to describe. The beginning of the song is powerful and fairly fast with strong percussion. We then move into some horns, keyboards and what could be a chorus of human voices. The tuba and strings come next and again we have an Asian style melody. The contrast between the tuba and the woodwinds is interesting. The melody remains complicated and moves quickly. It lightens up and takes on a playful mood - so much so that it reminded me of the Fool. It changes yet again into a complicated, chaotic sounding keyboard melody. This part of the song sounds dark and threatening. It then fades into silence.

The Star begins with an eerie, electronic sound. You can imagine yourself in solitude in the dark. This is quickly joined by what sounds like a xylophone, woodwinds and strings. The melody is similar to that of the High Priestess. It fades to silence and then begins again with a lone woodwind. This is followed by more woodwinds, and the xylophone or bells. Horns join in and the pace becomes faster and lighter.

Overall, I found this CD to be very interesting. It reminded me of a soundtrack for a movie. The songs were quite evocative. It is not something I would play while doing readings, but it could be used as background music for meditation on the six cards it covers. The composer plans to complete all 22 Major Arcana in future releases. He says that the Minors will have to wait for his next lifetime.

The Book Of Thoth: Musical Interpretations of the Tarot by Zehm Aloim
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Review Copyright 1999 Michele Jackson
Page Copyright 2000 Diane Wilkes