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It is incredibly difficult to review box sets or re-issued albums by artists whom you missed the first time round (albeit by virtue of the product having been created several years before one's own birth). Experimental music is particularly problematic, because by its very definition it is intended to be shocking, and to defy easy explanation. If experimental music doesn't at first sound cacophonous, or otherworldly, or ridiculous, well then it isn't really experimental.

Approaching Ariel Kalma's early output forty years after its creation makes you question a lot of pre-conceptions about what we now recognise as Ambient electronica, World music (then not really a concept in itself) and to some extent Drone. The capitalisation of all those genre headings is a little bit plastic - none of them existed in the sense that we understand them now, although contemporary artists might draw parallels with shamanic chants that had already made it onto record. Ariel is here experimenting with tape effects, not by any means unique to the age, as well as circular breathing and the multi-tracking of his native instrument, the horn.

The bones and sinew of Kalma's '70s output feel pleasingly familiar today, at least to those raised listening to the more scratchy, sound field-sampling house, hip-hop and ambient electronica. The French-born 'multiversalist' certainly wasn't the first to employ tape looping and drone, but he did originate his own heady mix of Orientalist self-annihilation, combining these elements with Stone Age synthesised drums and live percussion - comfortable touchstones for listeners of Terry Riley, Parmegiani and his ilk.

The overriding attitude of this long collection of his early tape recordings is one of meditation. Kalma is as oppositional to the contemporary mainstream as you can imagine; the pieces for the most are designed around single sustained organ or brass notes, with primitive delay effects sending melodic patterns from one ear to the other, suggestive of karmic balance.

It will undoubtedly reveal me as the Philistine I am to say that I prefer Kalma's experimentation when it includes percussion. The everlasting light suggested by his circular breathing and rainforest sound field recordings are pleasant but they can tend to drag without something more societal to provide narrative. The tracks which include his voice bring a similar kind of structure, breaking up the platitudes of eternal meditation with more Western structure. 'Chase Me Now' and 'Eneuj Elleiv' are the most substantial percussive tracks and the readiest for modern consumption. The latter in particular sounds remarkably prescient of the work of Kieran Hebden.

There is a fourth branch of Kalma's stylistic flowering; the group meditation of tracks like 'Sister Echo' create a communal space from simple timpani and woodwind, adding contemplative looped vocal whispers. The song feels like an experiment (everything here does to differing extents), but is so peaceful and charming that it's hard not to like the philosophy that it reveals as running through all of his early work; a respectful coexistence between the ancient and the modern and the Oriental and Occidental that feels rarer today even than it did then.

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