CD: Reiki Hands of Love
Artist: Deuter


CD cover - Reiki Hands of Love (Deuter)Way back at the dawning of the new age music genre in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s a few seminal musicians planted the seeds of a new kind of music that was in tune with the awakening consciousness and emerging spirituality of the time. Along with artists like Steven Halpern, Constance Demby, and Iasos, was German-born Deuter (pronounced Doy-ter) who released his first album in 1971. This record, simply titled “D” is acknowledged as a classic, and according to Wikipedia, “marked the beginning of Deuter’s spiritual and musical journey, ostensibly paving the way for a new genre of music known as new age, which combined acoustic and electronic elements with ethnic instrumentation and nature sounds, such as whale and bird song, the open sea, wind in the trees, etc. Since that time, Deuter has recorded over 60 albums, and is still quite active in producing music at his studio in the mountains near Santa Fe, New Mexico. Having been a new age music journalist for more than 30 years, I’m quite familiar with Deuter and I’ve had the pleasure of writing about a number of his albums in that time.



Born in 1945 and growing up in post-war Germany, surrounded by destruction with very few of the amenities of life, such as radio, TV, records, etc. Deuter spoke in a recent interview about the first time he heard music and felt like “the heavens opened up.” He recalled as a young child when he heard someone playing a flute he realized for the first time that “there was something more in this life.” Music obviously had a major impact on his life and he went on to teach himself guitar,

Deuter in the early days

Deuter in the early days

harmonica, flute, and “just about every instrument I could get my hands on.” Fast forward to the 1970’s and 80’s, like many young people at that time, Deuter became intrigued and inspired by Eastern spirituality and spent years traveling in Asia and India, where he eventually became a devotee of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (later Osho). Much of Deuter’s music to this day is focused on spiritual practices and the healing arts, such as his recent release, Reiki Hands of Love.



Reiki (pronounced ray-key) is a hands-on energy balancing technique Reiki_Handsdeveloped in Japan that has become quite popular worldwide. The term translates as “”spiritually guided life force energy.” According to Deuter: “The loving touch of the human hand gives us the feeling of being cared for, the awareness of being appreciated, and the feeling of being secure and loved. Reiki Hands of Love is music designed to gently help this process by being a friendly energy in the background. It is a harmonious flow of sounds and melodies, compassionately supporting the acts of calming and healing.” This spiritual attunement also pervades his creative process while making the music. As Deuter describes: “I just disappear – there’s no feeling of me when I make music. And that’s the blissful part in a way.” While the music on this album certainly makes a perfect background for Reiki or any kind of healing work and meditation, it is also a high quality listening experience in itself for anyone who enjoys relaxing instrumental new age music.



deuter-banner-1170x400Deuter’s studio has large windows, which provide an exquisite view of the forest and the birds, deer, bears, roadrunners, snakes and coyotes that live there. Perhaps it is this view that inspired the music and the title of the track that opens the album, “Morning Light Silhouettes.” But whatever the inspiration, the music is gentle and serene, reflecting the dawn of a new day. Soft synthesizer textures ebb and flow around a graceful piano melody that is joined by Deuter’s airy flute in the second half. The vibe is extended into the next track, “Morning Light Silhouettes 2,” which adds the sonorous sound of cello. I love the title of the next song, “Cloud Surfing,” and the mental image it evokes. The ambient floating synthesizer soundscape perfectly matches the lofty theme. This piece would make a nice music video.



To say that Deuter is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist would be an understatement. Among the instruments he plays are: piano, various keyboards and synthesizers, guitars, shakuhachi flute, cello, koto, sitar, tabla, Turkish sasz, Persian tar, santoor, bazuki, Tibetan singing bowls, chimes, drums, ethnic percussion and more. He doesn’t see himself as a maestro who has dedicated a lifetime to mastering a particular instrument, but he has learned to play each of these well enough to use them in his compositions, and sees them as colors in his musical palate. On the next track, “Love’s Winged Messenger,” the warm earthy sound of acoustic guitar is heard for the first time on the recording. Interesting contrasts abound as the nylon string guitar blends with what sounds like two different flutes – a silver flute and a Japanese wooden shakuhachi flute, as well as ethereal synthesizers and a woody marimba-like sound. Deuter’s flute playing is quite lovely and I appreciated how tastefully he uses vibrato in his tone.



While a few of the songs are in the 5 minute range in length, many are quite a bit longer, such as the 9 minute “Hands of Love.” This title goes perfectly with the theme of Reiki, as does its peaceful musical flow and extended length. And speaking of appropriate titles, “Unknown Doors” provided me with the challenge of tryingreiki_3 to figure out what the unknown instrument was heard in this song. Sounding somewhat like a harpsichord, zither, or maybe harmonium, it had a haunting resonance that contrasted nicely with the angelic choir sounds that provided a background. One of my favorite tracks was the final cut, entitled “Free Forever.” I particularly liked the sweet tinkling bell sounds that evoked an image of stardust falling to earth, as the song begins.



I had an interesting observation as I listened to the music of Deuter on Reiki Hands of Love. I imagine that hearing it in the background while meditating, doing yoga, or receiving a healing session, the music comes across with a Zen-like simplicity. Although as I listened to it in depth with studio headphones I was aware that there was often quite a lot going on under the surface. Subtle undercurrents and delicate layers of sound interweave to create a sonic tapestry that belie its’ seeming sparseness. One of the things that contribute to this effect is photo Deuter with flutehow elegantly integrated all the elements are within each composition. The album is beautifully recorded and mixed, revealing Deuter’s skills as an arranger as well as an instrumentalist. But beyond the physical aspects of the music, the energy and vibration of it is perceptible on a whole other level, and resonates deeply in the body, mind, and spirit of the listener. Deuter is truly a master of his craft, and a pioneer in the field of healing music. As much as I love to see up-and-coming new artists in the new age music field, it is equally gratifying to observe the continuing contributions of the founders who are still producing works of the highest quality and furthering the evolution of this expanding genre.