RuAch Review by: Skope Magazine, Boston

Peace family,
as we continue in this series I would like to share this RuAch album review, We give thanks to Jason Hillenburg from skope magazine for taking his time to share his perspectives on our music.
feel free to have a read bellow.

Peace & blessings.

Vonj

Vonji – ‘Ruach’ by Skope • April 6, 2017:
Kenya native and UK based multi-instrumentalist Vonji Uzele has a steadily growing discography featuring his varied talents and the latest release in his career, Ruach, is a thirteen track outing featuring the talents of guitarist Garry Millhouse, saxophonist Carmine Manfredi, and drummer Martin Donovan. Producer Mat Diamond has done an exemplary job of bringing outstanding sonic clarity to this often challenging music and his influence clearly strikes up considerable chemistry with Vonji and his musical collaborators. There are some strong influences circulating through this collection, but Vonji has a wholly individual sound filtered through those colors and no one can accuse him of lapsing into self-indulgence and imitation. This isn’t music pandering for commercial attention; instead, Vonji is working in a realm all his own and the iconoclastic slant he brings to this work will leave a lasting effect on any music devotee. Ruach is thirteen songs with a lot of punch and musical variation that few artists, at any level, can readily match.

The album opener “Out of the Mire” begins with intensely rhythmic percussion, acoustic instrumentation, and sharply angular guitar work gaining power as it progresses. It’s an instrumental track, but there are choral voices employed that sweeten the often fiery performance. The track is relatively short, but it makes maximum impact within less than three minutes. The terse and intensely melodic guitar opening “Skin Deep” is soon joined by a more lyrical lead guitar snaking over the top and segues into some impressive flourishes. The vocal contributions to the song have a nicely exhortative quality and the chorus underlines those elements without ever pushing too hard. It’s hard to resist the emphatic passion coming from every passage of this song. The powerful bass playing in this song is given a prominent position in the mix and works quite well with the lead guitar and rhythm section. “Gold Rush” has a much more straight ahead rock and roll attack and foregoes the experimental edge we’ve encountered on the album thus far. Vonji’s vocals veer from an impassioned bellow to snarling raucousness.

“Amnesia” has a decidedly dream-like, laid back vibe vaguely reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix’s work, sans guitar pyrotechnics. Vonji and his collaborators frame the echo-laden guitar work in imaginative ways and the song gradually sharpens its experimental edge as it progresses. One of the album’s longer songs, “Vox Populi” begins with some sternum rattling bass moving at a leaden, deliberate pace and accompanied by understated drumming. The introduction of a growling sax line darkens the texture some, but Vonji’s clear vocal pushes back against that darkness and balances it nicely. There’s some particularly strong guitar work in the song’s second half and the vocal arrangement serves the track quite well throughout. In some ways, Vonji and his collaborators are reminiscent of The Mahavishnu Orchestra’s prime work and few comparisons could be better. This is a powerful musical release on every level and, while it has little commercial appeal, it hits home with those who love music as art.
9 out of 10 stars

Jason Hillenburg

https://skopemag.com/2017/04/06/vonji-ruach

RuAch album review by Gas house radio.

Peace & blessings people, I would like to give thanks to Owen Mattheson for listening and reviewing the RuAch album earlier this year. Feel free to read the review bellow. until next Monday family.

Remember: Love, Unity & Health!.
Vonj.

Owen Mattheson’s Ruach album Review from Gas house radio, Philadelphia.

Vonj Uzele is a native of Kenya and lifelong musician with five full-length albums up to-date. For this most recent album, titled Ruach, meaning Spirit, Vonj enlisted the impromptu aid of percussionist Martin Donovan, saxophonist Carmine Manfredi, Drummer Mat Diamond and Spanish guitarist Garry Millhouse.

Ruach is thirteen tracks of musical charisma, sophistication, and uniqueness to the extent of which a majority of people haven’t been exposed to since the mid to late sixties. Skilled improvisation matched with equal parts spirit and personality burst from every composition; there is a lot of “musical bravery” in this album, ranging from experimentation with acid-jazz like dissonance, to incredibly dynamic and unorthodox song structures where about two or three different experiences can be gathered from one four-minute track. One of the many examples of such a shift, from Edwin Starr-like soul vocals and instrumentation to a swirl of free-form/acid jazz and psychedelic rock is the second track, “Skin Deep”. Songs such as “Gold Rush” demonstrate raw, fuzzy guitar riffage and commendable soul-influenced vocal talent that is refreshingly familiar to the inclusive and eclectic musical experimentation that was evident in sixties and seventies jam bands like The Grateful Dead or the Allman Brothers. Perhaps this musical conceptualization is most apparent in the six minute piece titled River Nun. An improvisational mix of psychedelic rock, soul, jazz, and even hints of funk, the track stands without a doubt as a unifying and mesmerizing spiritual journey that seems to emanate a since of musical togetherness and groove that is rare to come by and expect from modern musicians in a Western society. In short, there are so many different components to Vonji that it is difficult to fully comprehend every dynamic and experience the album has to offer. From sophisticated modal guitar playing, to unorthodox percussion and drumming, to elements of Eastern musical philosophy and psychedelic rock, there is without a doubt something in here for anyone to appreciate, and the great level of charisma and talent among these artists is unmistakable.

The musical objectives of Ruach are, at heart, incredibly charismatic and sophisticated. The playing is so dynamic, eclectic, and experiential that the group seems to forge their own genre out of about four or five existing ones. To most people, especially an average individual whose musical interests might be somewhat limited, comprehending and conceptualizing thirteen tracks of Ruach’s music is going to be somewhat of a challenge. The music is so multifaceted and dense that those lacking significant patience and understanding probably won’t last through about the third or fourth song. Basically, this type of music, although incredibly skilled, sophisticated, and designed to bring people together, is unfortunately only going to be thoroughly appreciated and listened to be those of a particular personality, perspective, and worldview who generally have the patience to see past instant-gratification in their sensibilities and see music more as a true art form as opposed to a mere source of entertainment. For this reason, like acid-jazz fanatics, dead-heads, and other specific music fans, Vonj and their album Ruach is somewhat of a niche work, despite how quality it is and how much it should be commended.

Ultimately however, the mainstream success of these tracks or lack thereof is probably of little importance to the sort of musicians that would create an album such as this. Vonj Uzele’s aspirations are far different than those of a marketable artist. The goal here was to create a musical journey to bring people together and hopefully work toward a sense of communal enlightenment and togetherness. For all those that are proactive enough to listen to the message, this album is, without a doubt, a shining success.

Owen Mattheson.

http://www.vonjruach.com
http://www.vonjproductions.com