Interview on Swindon105.5 with Lisa Coleman - Jan 2011
"These mantras, beautifully rendered in a contemporary fashion that retains the spirit of the originals, provide a profound, musical introduction to the basics of Tibetan tantra and to heartfelt Buddhism in general. The singer-composer is to be warmly congratulated on this innovation."
John Crook , Chuan deng Jing Di. Teacher: Western Chan Fellowship.
Mantrasphere -the album. By Barry Andrews.
'an album of devotional buddhist songs scored for acoustic guitar and voices' is not perhaps the sexiest strapline you'll ever hear but you would surely be a creature of hide and ice to resist the ravishments of Mantrasphere's debut collection.
This is Hughie Carroll (for it is he) doing his first ever album and you would think that might imply hesitancy; perhaps an aesthetic not yet entirely developed but not at all so. The whole thing seemed to appear fully formed and with that quality you get from the best art that 'it could not be any other way'.
I should say here that I produced Mantrasphere but I can take no credit for anything apart from what I hope is a worthy job of tweaking and varnishing: as I say, the songs seemed to have already made up their minds what they wanted to sound like.
Do you have to be a Buddhist to dig Mantrasphere? I confess to a sympathy in this direction -the only religion I feel the remotest affinity to- but I don't think that matters any more than Mozart's Requiem or Bob Marley's Exodus require that you listen as a Catholic or a Rasta.
It's not often that you get involved in a project like this: it's Hughie's brainchild totally but seems about a lot more than his own inner landscape. There's something almost impersonal about some of the songs which you find, say, in Bach or Islamic music. Thus, in a single bound, he avoids that serpent of self-indulgence whose coils await all unwary singer/songwriters with acoustic guitars.
And, all that apart, it is just very beautiful - full of shade and nuance and some very fine musicianship. I commend it to Hungry Ghosts everywhere.u`ll text on 'rottenmeats'
Green Man Review
"The real beauty of the album is that whilst being spiritual it doesn’t aim to preach yet is still able to speak to everyone. And speak it does, seemingly in a language that is both personal yet universal, minimal yet comprehensive. It is at once music to chill out to yet energizing, music of the here and now yet timeless. You can’t ask a lot more from a musician can you?"
*****"..not only is it very moving in its own right, but it forced me to take a longer look at my own musical preconceptions and restrictions."
- Sam Bucca f
"Ive been listening to the clips on your website and loving it, its a wonderful blend of heartfulness and devotion with your majical guitar playing and rich composition." - Vicky
Brilliantly original, Buddhist inspired music, energizing, chilled and evocative stuff - Dave F
cool new album of an unidentifiable genre - Rebecca
A Bodhisattva of sound...listen with innocent ears - Ned
Mantrasphere musical album is blissful, romantic and soothing. The softness of the guitar strings, the enigma of the vocalists, the depth of the Buddhist mantras all fuse together to appeal to all types of audience -be it a layman, Westerner or an Easterner, a yogi or a Buddhist or of any religious affinity, equally.
The songs of this album can be listened to for healing as these mantras stand for, or they can be used as background to immerse & relax into while you have to do some routine chores! The attempt to modify the tunes of these mantras to reach the wider public, while restoring their essence, is commendable. The images & meanings of the mantras given on your website are also useful. - Latha