The Native American flute music of Scott August has some high praise in that Brian Eno once said that August’s music was a visual one. Eno went so far as to suggest that August take up film scoring. As a result, Scott August’s music can be heard on familiar commercials for Lexus, Chevrolet, HBO, Nabisco, and Minolta, as well as soundtracks. In addition to all of this unnamed success, Scott August has scored a film that plays repeatedly at The Olympic Village in Atlanta. He graduated from USC with a Bachelor of Music degree, heavily influenced by the ambient masters such as Steve Roach, Tangerine Dream, Harold Budd, as well as paying attention to progressive rock giants like ELP, Yes, King Crimson, and Genesis.
His latest album, Lost Canyon, is quite interesting in that, as he focuses on the Anasazi flute, he develops his recordings with ambient patterns and sounds that not only underscore his musical interests and studies, but also highlights the magnificent sounds of this studied and ancient instrument. This particular flute has a soft, mournfully tender sound to it, an echo of the soul as it were. There is nothing shrill about it. Combined with other instruments, all of which are played by Scott August, including other flutes like the walnut flute, the aspen flute, and a Bass flute, the music of Lost Canyons is beautiful. “Raven Dance” on the album is memorable.
Steve Roach has created ambient works that wrap around the southwest and its mystical appeal, primarily of Native American origin. Scott August applies a similar technique, adding his style of mystery much like Roach’s applications do. The music is a beautifully composed dusk to dawn approach that is soft and enveloping, like a warm breeze in the wee hours of the night. There is no danger, only a peace and a comfort; a somnambulistic paradise.
The included booklet to Lost Canyons not only provides a detailed history of the Anasazi flute, a ‘lost’ instrument dating back to AD650, but also attaches written descriptions of each song that you can use to ‘visualize’ the music as you soak in the music. Lost Canyons is great, soothing background music but relinquishes its greatest power by your complete absorption of its tones and melodies.