I was fortunate enough to see Garbarek and the Hillard Ensemble perform pieces from this disc in Tokyo; one of the true surprises and delights of the evening (which I haven't found on the CD yet) was Garbarek's decision to quote from Albert Ayler's "Ghosts" on one piece. You might wonder with a classical vocal group who focus on early music and modern avant-garde choral composition have to do with Albert Ayler -- it seems a difficult gap to bridge. Hearing this two disc set will do much to make it clear. There is something genuinely spiritually uplifting in this music; it never approaches the New Agey wallpaper of Garbarek's weakest disc, VISIBLE WORLD, however -- it's not a tritened, mass-consumable spirituality at work here. There is grief, suffering, sorrow, pain, and fear acknowledged and embraced in this music; and yet it is still life affirming and inspiring (and beautiful to dream to). The spiritual aspect of Ayler's music, of free jazz itself, deserved the acknowledgement; Ayler was one of the most spiritually uplifting jazzmen of the movement, which often spoke in the idiom of the spiritual -- it would have been just as well (though far less moving, somehow, and far less musically appropriate) to quote "A Love Supreme"). Don't be worried by the unusual combination of jazz and classical elements; as another reviewer notes, Garbarek's voice blends in perfectly with the rest of the group, sounds a part of the whole. You'll forget that choral music usually doesn't include a soprano sax in a surprisingly short time. (Note - Garbarek brought a tenor to do the Ayler bit; I really don't know if it's on these discs, as I haven't listened to them in completion yet, but he does play tenor sax on them, so we can hope). Highly recommended stuff. The art for the booklet, by the way, is taken from Ingmar Bergman's SEVENTH SEAL, which is very, very appropriate. People who like and admire Meredith Monk's music (particularly BOOK OF DAYS, her finest work, by me) will appreciate this greatly, too. And vice-versa.