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When Estrella Morente, Deva Premal, Uyanga Bold, Chloe Pourmorady, a children’s choir, and a wealth of premiere world musicians come together under renowned producer Yuval Ron’s direction to sing about the four “sublime states” – the Brahma-viharas – the resulting album is extraordinarily rich and timely. Two years in the making, the music was composed, arranged and produced by Yuval Ron, who also wrote lyrics to complement the traditional Sanskrit lyrics.

Vocalist Deva Premal shares her enthusiasm about singing mantra music, saying, “You can’t sing with a closed heart. You just can’t do it. And if you try, as soon as you start singing, your heart just naturally opens up more and more.”

Premal is beloved in the kirtan, mantra, and yoga communities, and credited with introducing Sanskrit mantras into the mainstream. Morente is a highly-celebrated flamenco songstress, the daughter of singer Enrique Morente and flamenco dancer Aurora Carbonell; she grew up steeped in the essence of flamenco, and sings in both Spanish and Sanskrit on this album. Bold and Pourmorady -- rising stars in the recording industry -- bring a youthful yet soulful energy to the production.

One also hears vibrant performances by acclaimed world musicians including Pandit Nayan Ghosh, Alam Khan, Adam Del Monte, Somnath Roy, Dennis Karmazyn, Jamie Papish, Elinor Sitrish, Yuval Ron and many more fine artists, playing instruments such as the sitar, sarod, oud, guitar, udu, gatam, ney, udu, keyboards, sutra, bell, and wooden sticks to name a few. The CA-based Blair Studio Singers children’s choir, conducted by KC Daugirdas, lends their voices to all four tracks.

Nyanaponika Thera of the Buddhist Publication Society, best described the modality on which the album is based, writing “the Brahma-viharas, the four “sublime states” – are considered to be the ideal social attitudes, the springs underlying the ideal modes of conduct towards living beings. They are the great removers of tension, the great peace-makers in social conflict, and the great healers of wounds suffered in the struggle of existence. A mind that has achieved meditative absorption induced by these sublime states will be pure, tranquil, firm, collected and free of coarse selfishness.”

As in-depth as a summer study course, teachings on The Four Divine States of Mind album page at Metta Mindfulness Music's official website offer insights to the Brahma-viharas, as well as lyrics, suggested mantras, and multiple ways to practice. Event participants are encouraged to choose one of the four virtues to practice this week, and share their observations in the live chat on Saturday. Access the free teachings, insights and music links at mettamindfulnessmusic.com/fourdivinestates.html.

What you will hear is the four “sublime states” – the Brahma-viharas, a blend of voices and musical instruments from around the world, coming together to create beautiful original music informed by ancient wisdom promoting healing and well-being through sound.

Music is a path of healing and a way of life, simply listening to music has many benefits such as facilitating meditation and deep relaxation, or just enjoying the enhancement of mental focus and openness to artistic inspiration. Medicinally, more is being discovered about the benefits of music therapy for heart ailments, brain dysfunction, learning disabilities, depression, PTSD, Alzheimers, childhood development, and so much more.

Dr. Richard Gold, Executive Producer, was one of the four founders of the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, and was first introduced to meditation and yoga in 1970. He has studied neuroscience and the evolving understanding of the effects of sound and meditation on the brain.

Yuval Ron, composer, arranger and producer, is a renowned World Music artist, educator, peace activist and record producer. He graduated Cum-Laude in 1989 from the Berklee College of Music. He has continuously researched various ethnic musical traditions and spiritual paths worldwide and has composed TV and films scores as well as original scores for theater productions. He is a multi-instrumentalist, on this album he plays keyboards, Oud and conducts the string orchestration.

In a recent conversation with Dr. Gold, Yuval Ron and Beth Hilton, Yuval Ron spoke about the process of developing the Four Divine States of Mind project, expressing Four Buddhist beliefs, as a universal message of world spirituality and guidance towards realizing a more positive world. “The first idea was Mantra chanting. Then, I knew the album would not be instrumental, it would be vocal, and I thought, who would I want to sing these four vocal messages? I decided there would be four female divas to express these teachings… Who would be the most thoughtful singer in the world to sing about compassion?” The answer that came through: the Flamenco singer Estrella Morente, from Spain. “Then I was thinking about Deva Premal, I love her voice for chanting and mantras, she studied Sanskrit from a very young age... I wanted her to sing the song about vicarious joy.” He continues, “Then I thought about Úyanga Bold, who is a singer from Mongolia, from a Shamanic Buddhist background and is at the beginning of her career.” To complete this incredible team: “Chloe Pourmorady, a Persian-American singer also at the beginning of her career, she is from Los Angeles, she sings in many different languages… I chose her because when I heard her sing, I felt her soulfulness, tenderness and vulnerability, which I felt best expresses the idea of loving kindness.”

Loving-kindness is the practice concerned with the cultivation of benevolence, kindness, and amity, with silent repetitions of phrases such as "may you be happy" or "may you be free from suffering." The practice of loving kindness expresses benevolence towards all living beings, joy at the sight of the virtuous, compassion and sympathy for the afflicted, and tolerance towards the insolent and ill-behaved.

The music is a meditation on Divine Love, motherly love, tenderness, abundance of kindness, and mother Earth. The singer is Chloe Pourmorady, a Persian-American composer, multi-instrumentalist, singer, and educator best known for blending global ideologies and philosophies into her work. The music she writes is innovative and imaginative, influenced by tradition, and yet her sound has been described as "the music of her generation." Her listeners describe feeling elevated through songs of hope, prayers of love, and words of truth.

https://www.chloepourmorady.com/

With Alam Khan, Sarod; Rachel Valfer, Mawal (ad lib vocal solo); Somnath Roy, Ghatam; Malek Vossough, Ney; and Yuval Ron, Oud. Music and Lyrics by Yuval Ron.

An act of compassion can be defined as simply expressing creative helpfulness. Qualities of compassion are patience, wisdom, kindness and perseverance. Compassion involves being moved by suffering and feeling the motivation to help alleviate and prevent it.

Music and Lyrics by Yuval Ron, with an invitation to contemplate compassion, the suffering of yourself and others and try to cultivate a compassionate attitude towards these suffering beings.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estrella_Morente

For the second offering are heard the vocals of Estrella de la Aurora Morente Carbonell, professionally known as Estrella Morente. She is the daughter of flamenco singer Enrique Morente and dancer Aurora Carbonell. She has performed with her father since age seven and recorded her first album in 2001, Mi Cante Y Un Poema (My Songs and A Poem). This was followed the same year by Calle del Aire, and her third album, Mujeres (Women) came in 2006, which her father produced. Her art has dazzled not only the most demanding flamencologists but also rockers like Lenny Kravitz.

With Adam Del Monte, Guitar; Yuval Ron, Oud; Jamie Papish, Udu; Manuel Gutierrez, Back up vocals; Jose Ramon Montero, Translation of Spanish lyrics; Felipe Baron, Associate producer; and Pablo Sánchez, Recording engineer for Estrella Morente recording.

To show vicarious joy is to celebrate happiness and achievement in others even when we are facing tragedy ourselves. The foundation for letting joy into our lives is gratitude and the associated savouring of what is good in life such as achievements, friendships or your child’s development. Vicarious joy is the experience of the pleasure that comes from delighting in other people's well-being.

https://devapremalmiten.com/

The vocalist Deva Premal explains that the purpose of her work "is to be open to the Goddess of music – to be true to ourselves, as musicians, as 'teachers;' as partners, and ultimately, as individuals – fellow travellers. We accomplish this by not 'trying' to accomplish anything. Our nourishment and life’s work is to create gatherings around the planet where people can come together in celebration and meditation, to work positively towards valuing and rejoicing in the good fortune of others, which in turn increases our own joy in life." She began her journey with a mantra in her mother's womb, as her father chanted to her daily. The mantras continued to be her bedtime lullaby after she was born. Many years later, she heard a friend singing one of her prenatal mantras and was inspired to put together an album. Premal met her partner in life and music, Miten, at the Osho International Meditation Resort in Pune, India in 1990, where she was studying reflexology, shiatsu, cranio-sacral therapy, and massage. They have been touring together since 1992, offering concerts and chant workshops worldwide. Premal and Miten recorded The Essence (1998) in her mother's apartment in Germany, where she was born and where she first heard the Gayatri Mantra.

In many Yoga traditions, the virtue of equanimity can be one of the results attained through regular meditation, cultivating an evenness of mind, calmness, and a strong sense of abundance, exaltation that is somehow immeasurable, without hostility and without ill-will, an evenness of mind, neither elated nor depressed.

https://www.uyangabold.com/

Living and breathing music, and rather obsessed with improvement and self development of any kind, Úyanga Bold plays for healing experiences promoting mindfulness and personal transformation. She grew up playing classical piano, and later developed a fascination with exotic instruments, including dilruba, frame drum, and baglama saz to name a few. Known for her otherworldly dynamic voice on film, television and video game soundtracks, along with videos viewed by millions, Úyanga is an internationally acclaimed soundtrack vocalist, vocal arranger and songwriter.

Vocalist Úyanga Bold; with the Divine Sutra String Ensemble (cello soloist: Dennis Karmazyn); Hirokazu Kosaka and IKKYU Archers group, Sanskrit Chant of the Heart Sutra, bell and wooden sticks; Yuval Ron, Keyboards and strings orchestration; and Blair Studio Singers children choir conducted by KC Daugirdas, who sang on all four tracks. Music by Yuval Ron, Lyrics: traditional Sanskrit.

This new album from Metta Mindfulness Music brings a welcome and much needed meditation on the daily expression of loving kindness for healing a wounded world, resulting in increased relaxation and an intimate conversation, with gentle sharing of ideas. The sound is a meditation on bringing people of many cultures together through music in a prayer for universal welfare, experiencing a nourishing quality of interconnectedness, the wish to relieve a being from suffering, wishing fellow travelers on a spiritual journey happiness, to open our eyes to the rivers of goodness in the world and to enhance our sense of gratitude.

May all beings be fulfilled and secure, may they be happy-minded, connecting with others in order to conversely experience renewal, support, and validation. Music can free us all from inordinate reactions to the changes and chances of the world, to help us to cultivate the capacity to be joyful for the joy of others and to experience vicarious joy, all beings sharing that same location.

About Metta Mindfulness Music: Their mission is to create beautiful original music that enhances health, mental equanimity, and the daily expression of loving kindness. To create original music that is informed by ancient wisdom traditions and the most current advances in neuroscience and music therapy research. To engage renown performing artists in recording music for the purpose of promoting healing and well-being through sound. Visit Metta Mindfulness Music at: http://mettamindfulnessmusic.com

More Links:
Amazon Pre-Sale: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08BQ2JCXZ/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_I.J-Eb5A95QRA
Spotify Pre-Save: https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/yuvalron/four-divine-states-of-mind-2
Direct Purchase: http://mettamindfulnessmusic.com/store.html
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MettaMindfulnessMusic/
Album Page: http://mettamindfulnessmusic.com/fourdivinestates.html
Yuval Ron: https://yuvalronmusic.com/yuval-ron-2/
Dr. Richard Gold: http://mettamindfulnessmusic.com/about.html

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Exploring the Path Less Traveled

An interview with Ambient Electronic Musician Chris Russell

Chris Russell’s otherworldly creations often call to mind abstract sci-fi visuals, and the surreal soundscapes of Destiny, his third solo album for the Spotted Peccary label (https://spottedpeccary.com/shop/destiny/), keeps the dream alive. It feels to me like time falls away as the album’s glistening tones move toward terrifying horizons, rising and falling and rising again on the broad swells of a sizzling sonic sea.

“Russell’s mastery of expansive ambient electronic soundworlds is on full display within the music of Destiny, and the album’s subtle but all-encompassing spaces give rise to an immersive and thought-provoking listening experience that breathes and evolves with nuance and depth. Through the use of delays, granular filters, and long reverbs, Russell explores slow-flowing spaces with an artistic and cinematic flair, painting a world where delicate veils of sound are frozen in slow-motion breezes, where seething pools of shimmering electrons glisten in sonic starlight, and where distant drones and faraway textures approach and recede into mysterious swirling mists.” (from the Spotted Peccary press release)

An ambient music artist who has been recording since 1999, Chris Russell finds his inspiration from both the simplicity of nature and the vast infinity of the universe. When he is using the studio as his instrument, he plays synthesizers (both software and hardware types), bass guitar, and various indigenous instruments to produce fantastically strange textures and abstract paintings of sound. In addition to his solo work, Chris has also contributed multiple tracks to compilation albums. On his bandcamp page (https://voidmusic1.bandcamp.com/) there are currently 48 titles of recordings that Chris has created himself, or created in collaboration with other artists, or in some way contributed to compilations, all in the deep listening / atmospheric / cinematic and ambient electronic music genres.

Chris works with various natural (and otherwise) recordings he makes of interesting sounds which he collects and then processes electronically for us to enjoy, adding his unique effects and treatments. His newest album, Destiny, will be available March 27, 2020 from Spotted Peccary Music in CD format and in 24-BIT AUDIOPHILE, CD QUALITY LOSSLESS, MP3 and streaming formats.

I first came upon his album Echo (SPM 3502) last year and it made a big impression on me. The sound is mysterious and hard to describe, I hear dark clouds that reveal hints of large musical objects hidden in gigantic reverberating spaces. Sometimes there are melodic accents, usually there are strange buzzings, whistling things swirling about in the air above, all sorts of unusual but pleasant noises, and always nothing shocking or difficult to listen to or that would otherwise upset the sleepy neighborhood. There are almost no beats and certainly no drums, just wide open magic ear adventures. The whole album is like a strange and wonderful journey through a series of caves, hence the name Echo. Overall this is a great listen if you like mysterious textures! Echo has lots of strange and wonderful electronic audio events that you can crawl right into and get in there and really pay attention to all the fantastic details, or you can allow it to be something to listen to without being pulled away from your chosen thoughts. For me it’s all about odd things to hear in your headphones, which is what I am always looking for.

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I interviewed Chris in early March of this year (2020), combining some telephone conversations with follow-up email and texting back and forth to prepare for the celebrated release of Destiny as well as explore some of his notions about the strange world of ambient electronic music.

(AJ) Your newest album, Destiny, has just been released on Spotted Peccary Music, first of all, Congratulations! You work in a very specialized area of sonic arts. How do you find a way to create something that sounds so completely new on each album?

(CR) I usually work on more than one project at once, this time I balanced creating the peaceful music of Destiny with the recently released darker album Presence (2019 Exosphere). I hope it speaks to the spiritual visionaries out there. Creating this new album was very therapeutic, calming and relaxing. I had listeners who enjoy Yoga and Meditation in mind while creating it. Destiny took a lot of creative restraint from me, I kept it on a path of free flowing ambient, not too dark, not too strange, no hard left turns in the music. I am glad I challenged myself that way on this album. I feel it has paid off well for the listener.

(AJ) Some say that the Greek composer Iannis Xenakis was the inventor of the granular synthesis technique. Xenakis created granular sounds using analog tone generators and tape splicing. Granular synthesis is based on the same principle as sampling, but the samples are not played back conventionally. The samples are split into small pieces called grains. Multiple grains may be layered on top of each other and played at different speeds, phases, volume, and frequency, among other parameters, creating a cloud of sound that is possible to manipulate by varying the waveform, envelope, duration, spatial position, and density of the grains. Many different sounds can be produced.

(CR) Granular synthesis was used on this album. Destiny has no field recordings, it is all synthesizers. Destiny was finished over a year ago and I am currently still having fun exploring the sounds created within that zone.

(AJ) You do it so well, why do you do what you do?

(CR) One reason I make Ambient music is to peer behind the veil, as an attempt to explore other realities. I love to go out at night stargazing, staring into the black void on a dark night far away from the light pollution of the city. My music is all about the vast expanse, other dimensions, paranormal, sci-fi themes. Sometimes I imagine that this music is what aliens would like to listen to, riding in their UFOs!

(AJ) Why don’t we go way back to the beginning? Tell us a little bit about your journey as a composer so far.

(CR) I was born in the Peoria, Illinois area and currently live in LaSalle, Illinois with my wife Megan and our two cats Leo and Lulu. I started off with computer based music tools, as the technology evolves I get new plugins, that is what I dive into, I like to keep it all on my personal cutting edge. All my music is DIY (do it yourself), I have had no classes, I watched no YouTube tutorials, I had no training. It’s all just what I have figured out for myself. I started in the early days with two boomboxes, keyboards and a drum machine, I would bounce recorded tracks back and forth to add layers, one box playing and the other recording. Then in 1999, I got a PC with Sound Forge, and another program called Acid, which I currently still use today.

I do not have a background in technical training, I spent about ten years playing and exploring electronic music in my bedroom, not being too serious. My first music released to the public was on mp3.com and then later Myspace Music. MySpace got me in touch with other ambient musicians and helped me get my first record deal on AtmoWorks. My first ambient electronic album I released was titled Aralu.

(AJ) What do you have on your personal entertainment playlist now, for when you are just getting through your day?

(CR) I am currently listening to Lisa Bella Donna, Tame Impala, Lord Huron, Fleet Foxes, Mint Julep, Rush and Led Zeppelin. Music runs in my family My dad’s father Paul was a big band leader. My mother Mary Ann was a piano teacher and my son Gavin is a skilled guitar player who is currently in college for music and performance arts.

The only ambient music I usually listen to is mostly my own, along with Steve Roach, Aphex Twin, Max Corbacho, Alio Die and the late Darshan Ambient. As technology evolves so does the ambient electronic genre.

(AJ) How on earth do you get your ideas?

(CR) Nature is a big inspiration for the art I create. I love to go hiking, going into nature, recharging my creative battery. I feel like I am trying to bring the energy from the forest back into the studio. Inspiration is all around. You have to slow down and observe. I paint a picture in the mind’s eye with sounds, all my tracks usually are, multiple takes stacked together with no composition or planning, for me my music is a mixed media collage that comes to life.

My Dad was a big believer in spiritualism, UFOs, Cryptids and Government Conspiracies, I have seen and experienced things most people have no grasp on. That all influences my deeper dive into creating soundscapes. I feel this is music for the future, I like to think I’m making it for a coming golden age.

With some of the themes on Destiny and Echo I was thinking of it like a Stanley Kubrick film soundtrack.

(AJ) I just have to ask you some more about Echo, which really made a big impression on me. How did the album come about?

(CR) Echo was a big gamble, it seemed too odd and experimental and I was expecting Spotted Peccary to turn it down when I submitted it. But I was thrilled when they decided to put it out. I don’t always know how listeners will respond to what I create. That’s one of the reasons I like to try new things. I just did my first live ambient music concert in November of 2019 in an old clock factory with Kevin Kramer that was recorded and to be released later this year. That performance was my first in a decade.

(Kevin Kramer teaches private lessons at the Westclox Music Studios, and creates music with his band, Ahymnsa and is an Illinois Valley music institution.)

(AJ) What are some of your most recent projects?

(CR) My most recent release was an EP called Gnostic, in December of 2019 and was made up of recently found lost pieces from the Illuminoid album. The albums Illuminoid and Gnostic have a strong influence of spiritual mysticism.

(AJ) The Gnostic EP is a collection of newly found and recently finished unreleased music from the Illuminoid sessions. The sounds have an ethereal and very strange choral presence, as if they were sampled from field recordings made in dark ancient cathedrals lit by flickering candles in the wee hours. These tracks date back to 2011 and were misplaced, they were thought to have been lost forever, but now they have been polished and brought into his current catalog.

(AJ) To me what I hear in some of your music is all about spirits, without any of the old fashioned or possibly corny “haunted house” type sound. Spiritualism is the belief in the real existence of immaterial entities such as angels and ghosts, with séances conducted by famous professional mediums. One of my ancestors was a practicing Spiritualist in the Galveston and New Orleans area back in the late 19th century, so I have a personal perspective on this phenomenon from the past.

(CR) I was baptized and raised a Catholic and now I feel like I have an even deeper spiritual level, I do not follow religious dogma, my church is the forest, nature. On the album Echo the last track “Abandoned” contains a recording I made walking through an abandoned house, recording the sounds of my footsteps on the creaking old boards, with the insects and birds in the background, and the sounds of nature reclaiming the old house. This track was a homage to my love of Urban Exploring. In the studio I took the sound of walking and everything and made the track by putting atmospheres around it.

(AJ) I look at your catalog of albums, your discography and I have to ask you about your incredible production pace, how do you get so much done?

(CR) Steve Roach inspired me to always work on 3 or 4 albums at once. Because of that by the time an album gets released I have already moved on down the road to newer music. And have to go back to listen to and get reacquainted with the album close to release.

(AJ) So… how about the future?

(CR) I love collaborating, I wish to do it more, I always pick up new things working with other people. I believe a good collaboration is going somewhere you couldn’t get to yourself. I just recently finished a collaborative album with Philip Wilkerson, that is a follow up to our 2014 release Vague Traces.

Destiny on a personal level is my ten year celebration of releasing my own music, and is a celebration of taking the creative path less traveled that can be both challenging and rewarding.

On Spotted Peccary Music, I feel like my albums are being heard by more listeners, Spotted Peccary are very supportive of my work and helping me grow my audience. I look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with them.

(AJ) Chris, it is always a pleasure to talk with you, and I very much enjoy listening to your music. Long may you hum and buzz and click and whirrrrrr!

A Review of Destiny

Ambient Electronic Soundscapes from Spotted Peccary Music (SPM 3503)

Slow sustained transforming textures, mystical hissing, sounds of gigantic spaces, things happening in a strange world, never too crowded, there is always lots of room for what goes on. At the heart of each track you’ll find trillions of tiny bits of sound, or grains, and the craft involves manipulating each grain’s duration, pitch and so on, for awesome visualizations in your mind’s eye. It’s not often that you can come across such sonic particles of dust or sand that are being energetically lifted to great heights by a strong and turbulent wind, and then it all calms and you find yourself on a sunrise-gold beach. That is your privilege, listening to Destiny, as you gaze out at this shimmering flower on the horizon, huge over the sea.

If you visit the bandcamp page of Chris Russell, you will find 48 titles on various labels, such as Spotted Peccary, Relaxed Machinery, Disturbed Earth, VoidMusic, earthMantra, Ambient Online, and aatma. Most of these projects are solo albums but a great many are collaborative adventures as well as single track contributions to anthologies. His first ambient electronic album was released in 2009 and titled Aralu, which was made possible through his MySpace account. MySpace got him in touch with other ambient musicians and helped him get that first record deal on AtmoWorks. Lots of things have happened in those cerebral repositories and vaults leading up to his release of Destiny.

What you will hear is always changing, sometimes a strong dry wind blows over the desert that raises and carries along clouds of glittering sand or dust often so dense as to obscure the sun and momentarily reduce visibility almost to zero, then your perceptions are released to see a strange new world through over a billion pure eyes of light. Sometimes the sound is soft and cold, with white snow blowing above the ground like a thick fog blanket of tremendous height, the wind carrying the bitter snow past the singing frozen river, the stiff trees held with cold frost that melts into a dawn chorus of melodic electronic neo-birdsongs drifting in, casting a rosy hue across the morning sky and golden fingers of sunlight that light up the scene.

To begin this tripped light fantastic the album opens with “Invitation“ (10:02), evoking an opening transformative soundscape, setting the stage for what is to come next, electronic textures without melodies. With electronics everything is possible and the journey begins well.

Two roads diverge in a modern wood, the sky opens up above, inner space beckons below, we shall take “The Path Less Traveled“ (6:56) looking for a long time at the path going one way, then taking the other path, traveling through a landscape with slow textures and strange sounds unfolding in large reverberating chambers. I hear a subtly scary cinematic soundtrack, dark and lonely in places, perhaps a cathedral organ has been held on one note for all eternity and we are just discovering it now, things are happening in darkness and they might be dangerous, but this is clearly figurative, the interpretation of sound is noted for being complex and (like the road fork itself) potentially divergent.

As these supernatural electronic paths take us on its course we are put up against the surreal world of fate. Fate is the supposed force, principle, or power that predetermines events. No matter how much we attempt to look past fate, it will never flee. “Destiny“ (7:07) the title track, has a slow sustained feeling with sweeping tones and textures in a dark cave. I hear some kind of an unfolding process, building and uncoiling, huge purring creatures down below, lots of open area above, things circling way up there, off in the distance but possibly getting closer, drifting around and around but invisible.

The 17th century French fabulist and poet Jean de La Fontaine once said that “A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it” which speaks of a mysterious inevitable circular return to what one was actually dodging. “Life Cycles“ (6:15) has a glowing, awakening pattern, with layers of sustained electronic chimes, building slowly. The song title makes me think there will be an overall circular motion but perhaps the sound just gains more altitude. Life is like that, things happen but sometimes the life cycles are imperceptible because we are too close, perhaps when seen from a distance the circular directions become more obvious.

These are the sounds of enlightenment, hidden knowledge, and healing. “Soul Nexus“ (9:52) brings to my mind a connected group or series of windstorms in which large quantities of sand are blown about in the air in varying proximity to the ground. The word nexus comes from the Latin nectere, to bind. Nexus can also mean the central and most important point or place. The sounds are sometimes fading, revealing sustained sheets of grains upon which textures slowly play and evolve, voices coming from the ocean, reverberations coming from hidden caves.

A granular synthesized sonic event is designed to start and end microscopically in the invisible light of sound, “Density of Light“ (6:36) helps to break us through the darkness, bringing rays of sound, representing the well lit universe, building and layering, getting closer and bigger. Some strange noises emerge from above, then they fade back away, then visit again, like souls calling out. I think that this music is like some kind of magical dust in the wind, eventually returning to a drifting spring equinox of passion.

“Awoken“ (8:37) is the past tense of a word referring to the process of awakening, it has already happened, but for me somehow the dreamstate continues with hissing and reverberating tones and textures, hidden immense spaces echoing in the darkness, and towards the end there is lightening, as if the sun were beginning to dawn again.

Chris Russell has an adventurous approach to his unique art, he has many years of experience starting with his bass and keyboard playing in various touring rock bands such as Syntax Error, followed by about ten years of exploring electronic music in his bedroom, not being too serious. Working alone, painting new pictures with sound, diving deep and figuring out everything for himself, with no technical classes or training, no YouTube tutorials, for all those years he was just making mixed media collages come to life alone in his Sanctum Sanctorum until he had enough of a vocabulary developed to bring his music to our ears, and to occasionally reach out to other musicians to create collaboratively.

This new album has a very therapeutic feeling, calming and relaxing. It is designed to speak to the spiritual visionary’s out there. Listeners who enjoy Yoga and Meditation will enjoy the consistent mysterious and adventurous soundscapes that are never punctured by disruptive surprises or haunted in a sustained way by gloomy darkness. I hear granular ephemeral flurries which bring the times that mark the beginning of twilight before sunrise as clearly and accessibly as ever, I even dare to dream of an adaptive and profound mental and cultural sonic landscape that space aliens would like to listen to, riding in their UFOs. Listen and peer behind the veil, exploring other realities.

1 Invitation
2 The Path Less Traveled
3 Destiny
4 Life Cycles
5 Soul Nexus
6 Density of Light
7 Awoken

Available March 27, 2020 from Spotted Peccary Music in CD format and in 24-BIT AUDIOPHILE, CD QUALITY LOSSLESS, MP3 and streaming formats. https://spottedpeccary.com/shop/destiny/

FOOTLINKS

Artist website: https://voidmusic1.bandcamp.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chris.russell.7587370
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/voidmusic1/

Iannis Xenakis: https://iannis-xenakis.org

Spotted Peccary Album page: https://spottedpeccary.com/shop/destiny/
Spotted Peccary Artist Page: https://spottedpeccary.com/artists/chris-russell/

DISCOGRAPHY

Release Date Title Label Notes

2009 Aralu Almo Works
2009 Merge Almo Works
7/11/2010 Frozen Relaxed Machinery
3/1/2011 Mechanical Slumber Relaxed Machinery sleepMODE (anthology)
8/8/2011 Home (album 1) Relaxed Machinery
8/8/2011 Home (album 2) Relaxed Machinery
5/12/2012 Bloom Relaxed Machinery
9/29/2012 The Approaching Armada Disturbed Earth
12/20/2012 Borealis Free Floating Music all|is|calm 2012 (anthology)
2/14/2013 Portal Relaxed Machinery
5/4/2013 Twilight Woods Relaxed Machinery Butterfly Effects – James Johnson Recycled (anthology)
5/18/2013 Aralu VoidMusic (re-release)
5/18/2013 Merge VoidMusic (re-release)
1/14/2014 to the far corners Cave Dwellers (Disturbed Earth-pixyblink-Antum7) Disturbed Earth Bubble Juice (anthology)
1/24/2014 Revive Relaxed Machinery reBOOT an rM sampler
2/7/2014 Cosmic Lushness Chris Russell and pixyblink MySpace.com
4/4/2014 Mystic Zones MySpace.com
7/18/2014 Illuminoid Relaxed Machinery
9/30/2014 Particles in Sunlight Free Floating Music Quiet Friends: a 30th anniversary tribute to Steve Roach’s Structures from Silence
11/11/2014 Vague Traces Phillip Wilkerson & Chris Russell Spotted Peccary
12/8/2014 Memory Palace Chris Russell and eyes cast down VoidMusic, Kalindi Music
1/23/2015 Far Past Phillip Wilkerson & Chris Russell Spotted Peccary 28 Spotted Peccary ambient sampler
2/7/2015 Still earthMantra
7/3/2015 Blur Relaxed Machinery
12/18/2015 Goloka earthMantra Orchid (anthology)
4/26/2016 Enki Ambient Online Ambient Online Compilation Vol 6
9/1/2016 Refraction Free Floating Music Reflection (anthology)
10/28/2016 Fallen Draconid Ambient Online Ambient Online Compilation Vol 7
12/17/2016 Spectra earthMantra
2016 Reflections In Transit Chris Russell With Mystified (deactivated)
3/24/2017 Labyrinth Spotted Peccary
5/26/2017 Another Dreary Day Ambient Online Ambient Online Compilation Vol 8 Part 1
10/27/2017 Helix Chris Russell
1/7/2018 to the east of evening (single) anotherAntidote
2/16/2018 Blurred Lines Chris Russell & Disturbed Earth Disturbed Earth
3/19/2018 Ventus earthMantra
4/30/2018 The Rift Ambient Online Ambient Online Compilation Vol 9 Part 1
6/10/2018 Memories of Akhenaten Chris Russell & Dawn Tuesday aatma 9/10/2018 Echo Spotted Peccary
11/30/2018 Spirit of Aten Chris Russell & Dawn Tuesday Unexplained Sounds Group USG anthology
12/7/2018 Moonrise Chris Russell & Erik Norman Chris Russell
3/20/2019 Umbriel Ambient Online
5/14/2019 Presence Exosphere
7/6/2019 Legend of the Moai aatma The Unity by various artists
7/13/2019 Coronium Ore Distorted Void The Black Orb (anthology)
10/18/2019 Föst jarguna and Friends Projekt Trapped Vol 3 (anthology)
12/7/2019 Gnostic Chris Russell
3/27/2020 Destiny Spotted Peccary
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The Lightness of Dark: a new Classical Crossover album by Fiona Joy Hawkins and Rebecca Daniels The renowned Australian and English musicians Rebecca Daniel and Fiona Joy Hawkins present a powerful exploration of loss and beauty amidst life's sadness in an uplifting Classical Crossover style. On this new album, The Lightness of Dark, the two explore the many facets of life and loss, the search for something positive in the crippling shadows; the resulting album is an example of the potential beauty that can emerge from mourning and sadness. Hawkins and Daniel will be supporting the Classical Crossover-style album with U.S.-based performances in Fall 2019, at Dizzy's in San Diego (https://bit.ly/2GHaa4E), also in Colorado, Julian, CA, and at an exclusive ticketed event in Los Angeles; updates on the duo's Facebook page. “We believe our album will connect with everyone because we all experience loss in varying forms,” Hawkins says. “It can be the loss of youth, a loved one, a pet, your health...life changing events where we are left to mourn because of loss. People only face their own issues when you lead them to a safe place to do this.” Both Hawkins and Daniel know that when real life becomes art, experiences can be shared, learned from and resonate with others who are going through similar challenging situations in their lives. Both were channeling the effects of difficult personal experiences into the music they were creating on their own, and soon realized their intent, ideas and visions for what this project could ultimately be melded perfectly. Music critic Jonathan Widran observes, "While The Lightness of Dark is most-richly experienced in its entirety as the duo converse and ultimately merge their expressions into a singular statement of grace, several pieces stand out thematically" on the 11-track album, including "Interwoven Threads of Chance" and "Ghosts, Insanity, Angels." The Lightness of Dark weaves its lush, cathartic narrative via music with varying instrumentation depending on the emotions the two are expressing. The opening track “Heavenly Voices” blends string quartet (featuring The Kanimbla Quartet) with organ, piano and vocals. Other tracks, feature solo piano (“Ghosts, Insanity, Angels”), piano/violin duet (“Elegy”), piano with quartet pads (“Lake of Contemplation”), string quartet only (“Interwoven Threads of Chance”), string quartet featuring piano (“Empty Moments”) and other combinations uniquely fitted for the compositions they imbue. Daniel’s fascination with Trauermusik (mourning or funeral music) began with the study of Paul Hindemith. Hindemith wrote a famous piece of Trauermusik for solo viola and string orchestra, and since performing this in the UK, Rebecca has embraced the rich and layered sounds of viola with string accompaniment. She says, “I drew inspiration for the Theme and Variations on a Ground Bass, from Hindemith's ‘Trauermusik’ and Purcell's ‘Dido's Lament’, which I have performed in the UK. Both pieces are powerfully tragic, and yet the beauty that comes through is deeply moving and engaging, in a way that leaves you uplifted, and wanting the experience again. On the title track ‘The Lightness of Dark,’ for instance, I use viola as a solo voice, as did Hindemith, and a simple descending bass line in the strings and piano, as a repetitive foundation for solo lines, as used by Purcell. The piece is written for string quartet, piano and vocalist, and uses repetition and simplicity to convey an emptiness and yearning, juxtaposed with rich chords in the strings and piano. The listener should be left emotional, yet content and at peace.” The duo have enjoyed a long history of collaborations, and enjoyed working together with renowned Australian Producer Llew Kiek on the project. Daniel and Hawkins have performed over 50 concerts together including at the Sydney Opera House for the 2012 MusicOz Awards, New Orleans for 2014 ZMR Awards and 2017 Sydney Women’s International Jazz Festival; Daniel has appeared on nearly every one of Hawkin’s solo albums. The two have played together as part of Hawkin’s Blue Dream Ensemble, and Daniel produced the group’s album, Live at the Q. Rebecca Daniel studied violin and chamber music with Emanuel Hurwitz and the Amadeus String Quartet at The Royal Academy of Music. She worked with Trevor Pinnock and Simon Standage, and The Australian Chamber Orchestra, and was Orchestra Leader for Les Misérables, Phantom of the Opera, The Sound of Music and Beauty and the Beast. She has recorded and performed with, John Denver, Bread, James Galway and the Chieftains, Will Ackerman, Shirley Bassey, Barbra Streisand, Men at Work and INXS. Fiona Joy Hawkins, a Conservatorium-trained pianist, renowned for her romantic, melodic songs and lush arrangements, is a prolific composer, who regularly tours China and the USA and is also a member of the Contemporary New Age instrumental group FLOW (Fiona Joy, Lawrence Blatt, Jeff Oster, Will Ackerman). Fiona’s song “Grace" is on a 2014 GRAMMY-Winning album, and in 2016 she won two Independent Music Awards at the Lincoln Centre in New York. She has several Best Piano Album ZMR Awards and regularly works with Producer Will Ackerman (Founder Windham Hill Records) and Cookie Marenco (Blue Coast Records) for hi-resolution audiophile recordings. The artists invite fans to connect on social media to share stories of loss and healing through music: Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/FionaJoyHawkinsRebeccaDaniel/ Twitter - https://twitter.com/fionajoymusic Twitter - https://twitter.com/RebeccaDmusic Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/fionajoymusic/ San Diego Concert Info: Location: Dizzy's Arias Hall Date: 10.4.19, doors open 7:30pm 1717 Morena Blvd., San Diego, CA, US 92110 Cash or Venmo at the door, or tix online: https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4306933   The Lightness of Dark is available today for purchase at Amazon, Bandcamp and other fine retailers, as well as streaming at Apple Music and other platforms worldwide, including Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/6bsketAtyg6m3ay0iRBFuA   more
Mantras, Faith, and Compassion Inspire Sangeeta Kaur Sangeeta Kaur's new album COMPASSION is an astonishingly-beautiful recording of outstanding performances and deeply-emotional expression.  "My inspiration for producing this album Compassion was from seeing and feeling the world’s suffering," Kaur shares. "Everyday, there is something tragic that is happening in our world, with our children and with our planet. Some days, I feel an unbearable weight for people, for my loved ones, for the strangers we pass by." Collaborating with Kaur are GRAMMY®-winning percussionist MB Gordon as well as GRAMMY®-nominated cellist Eru Matsumoto, with renowned composer and trusted producer Nicolas Neidhardt featured on piano and keyboard, while Duy Tran and Danaë Vlasse gift their talents in choral writing. Performances are enhanced by the sonic simplicity of crystal singing bowls, improvised by Sangeeta Kaur and GRAMMY®-winning soprano Hila Plitmann. According to Felicia Tomasko, Editor-in-Chief of LA YOGA Magazine and President of Bliss Network, "Sangeeta Kaur is a unique talent. Her soaring and transcendent vocal range is expressive throughout a wide variety of musical styles. In songs like 'May the Long Time Sun' Sangeeta offers a completely fresh interpretation of a classic that is played and sung in Kundalini Yoga communities. Each of her albums and live performances feature exquisite musicianship that provides the personal soundtrack to our modern-day spiritual experience. Sangeeta Kaur's New Age/Classical crossover album Compassion is a must-have addition to the modern-day seeker’s playlist.” Compassion is based on mantras from different lineages and practices that promote compassion, some with original lyrics and others without. “Rise Up” is an anthemic song to lift the spirits of those who are falling deep into darkness and who need a push into light, while “Transcendence” and “We are One” create an experience of wonder and bliss to help the mind stay in an elevated space, without words. Deep yet uplifting to the soul, Kaur’s hope is that Compassion can be a first step in raising one’s vibration and spirit to a place where he/she can at least have a sense of hope. Once there, infinite possibilities arise for listeners embracing the music. A series of live concerts are planned to share Compassion with the world. To all of her music, Kaur brings a passion for performance and an award-winning pedigree aligning classical opera training, Kundalini yoga and a deeply personal Tibetan Buddhist practice. Her unique style and commitment to honoring her dharma as a Voice for the sacred path has taken Kaur all over the globe from world renowned U.S. venues such as the Broad Stage and the Segerstrom Center for the Arts to the Sydney Opera House in Australia. Follow concert dates at https://www.sangeetakaurmusic.com/events Compassion was produced by Sangeeta Kaur and Nicolas Neidhardt, recorded and mixed by Gerhard Joost, and mastered by Gavin Lurssen at Lurssen Mastering; it was recorded at East West Studios and The Village Studios, and mixed at Groove Mountain Studios. Previous New Age/Classical Crossover albums by Kaur include MIRRORS, Ascension, and Niguma, which was the first work of its kind to congruently combine Ancient Sacred Wisdom of the East with a cinematic visual choreography on the stage, building a bridge between the worlds of sacred chant, classical opera and modern dance.   Track List: 1. Om Tare Tuttare Ture Sona 2. Rise Up 3. Transcendence 4. May the Long Time Sun 5. Song of Compassion Feat. Hila Plitmann Vocals & Danaë Vlasse Crystal Singing Bowls   6. Om Vajra Sattva Hum 7. We are One 8. Sa Re Sa Sa 9. Voices and Crystals Feat. Hila Plitmann 10. Voices of Compassion Chorus Medley   About Sangeeta Kaur: Sangeeta Kaur (Teresa Mai) is a Vietnamese-American trained opera singer, mantra singer, producer and Global Peace Song Awards 2016 winner. She is a sound artist who is inspired to bring healing and awakening through music and yoga. Sangeeta was musically trained at California State University of Long Beach Music School and also at The Boston Conservatory of Music, with focuses in Opera and Voice. She has performed many different operatic roles throughout the US and Europe. Her love for mantra music began when she met her spiritual teachers in New York City who then guided her toward the practice and studies of Tibetan Buddhism, Kundalini Yoga, Yoga of Lady Niguma and the Yoga of Sound and Mantra.   About Compassion: Compassion is an astonishingly-beautiful recording of outstanding performances and deeply-emotional expression. Sangeeta Kaur's fourth New Age/Classical Crossover album presents fresh collaborations with the Hungarian Studio Orchestra, Hungarian Studio choir and Los Angeles based choir The Sterling Ensemble, which raise her heavenly soprano vocals to angelic levels. Renowned composer and producer, Nicolas Neidhardt, features again on piano and keyboard, while Duy Tran and Danaë Vlasse gift their talents in choral writing. Enhanced by the sonic simplicity of crystal singing bowl, improvised by Sangeeta Kaur and Grammy winning soprano Hila Plitmann, Compassion provides a vocal healing balm for our souls, expressed deeply & emotionally from Sangeeta's loving heart.   Social Media: Facebook-https://www.facebook.com/sangeetakaurmusicofficial/ Instagram-https://www.instagram.com/sangeetakaurmusic/?hl=en Twitter-https://twitter.com/sangeetakaur111 Compassion is available for purchase in physical and digital formats at Amazon (https://amzn.to/2SZPM3Z) and fine retailers, and is available for streaming at Spotify (https://open.spotify.com/album/3O1N0Y2cRJiSCCs0TP1xMn), Apple Music (https://music.apple.com/us/album/compassion/1473520689) and other platforms worldwide.  #SangeetaKaur #Compassion #NicolasNeidhardt #Mantra #NewAgeMusic #MusicforMeditation #MusicforHealing #ClassicalCrossover #ContemporaryClassicalMusic #ChoirMusic #Soprano #TheSterlingEnsemble #HungarianStudioOrchestra #HungarianStudioChoir #FemaleComposer #VietnameseAmericanComposer #TeresaMai #DuyTran #HilaPlitmann #DanaëVlasse #KundaliniYoga #TibetanBuddhistpractice #AsianArts   more
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