(via Thrill Jockey)
The longstanding duo of Koen Holtkamp and Brendon Anderegg have just blessed us with a new record! The album’s title “Centralia” shares its name with a long-abandoned Pennsylvania mining town that’s now home only to a subterranean fire that spread via a large coal vein and still burns to this day, 47 years later (!) The music does envelop the listener in warmth, but the feeling is pretty much the opposite of a toxic hellfire panic, more like burrowing under a chenille blanket with your beloved. This is constellation-gazing music, an eardrum massage. There’s a little Riley, a little Chasny, a nod to the almighty Eno, but the sounds emerge as theirs alone, the triumphant culmination of a body of work that’s a half-dozen albums deep.
(from their equally hypnotic Dublab Sprout Session)
For more insight into the album’s creation, here’s the official word via their record label:
Holtkamp and Anderegg approached the album layer by layer, throughout much of the record combining purely-acoustic recordings with purely-electronic sounds rather than using electronics to manipulate acoustic source material. Guitar, cello, organs, electric piano, and more are seamlessly combined with modular electronics, synthesizers and other sound sources. The result is a fully engrossing listen, always shifting focus between acoustic instruments, processed instruments and electronic sound. Mountains are utterly singular in their ability to combine such varied and complex sources into such delicately detailed songs of perceived simple pastoral ambience.
Let’s not get too caught up in the process, though. Pitchfork offers some sage advice:
The technical details aren’t too important; to pick apart who did what and where would cause Centralia to lose some of its magic. Instead, it’s better to just fall into it, letting it wash over you again and again.
(“Living Lens” video by the band’s own Koen Holtkamp)
Released barely 2 weeks ago, it soon ascended to the coveted space atop my digital pile. I’ve already used in in yoga class, and had more than one student ask me afterward, “What WAS that?”, clearly entranced. It is also, incidentally, excellent makeout music.
Meet Zoë Keating, Avant-cellist. One-woman orchestra. 100% independent musician.
(photo by Kirstie Shanley)
This may not quite fit into my traditional definition of Transcendent Music as an ideal yoga/meditation soundtrack, but she’s an independent artist who creates beautiful music that makes me swoon (and a fellow live-loooper!), so that qualifies her too.
From her bio:
“Zoë Keating is a one-woman orchestra. She uses a cello and a foot-controlled laptop to record layer upon layer of cello, creating intricate, haunting and compelling music. Zoë is known for both her use of technology – which she uses to sample her cello onstage – and for her DIY ethic which has resulted in the sale of over 45,000 copies of her self-released albums and a devoted social media following.”
This is a great video of Keating giving a talk/Q&A at this year’s MIDEM music biz conference. If you’re a DIY musician, it’s definitely worth watching:
Her latest album is available for streaming (and for sale!) here:
(courtesy of Impose Magazine)
Admittedly, I am late to this party. The Brooklyn-based Future Shuttle has been “channeling the auditory connections between meditative mantras and nû-age primitivism since the Spring of 2009″. I want to do my part to send this far and wide, as the world can definitely use more beautifully-crafted lysergic kosmiche jams.
Here’s a little bio, via Holy Mountain:
“Future Shuttle is a Greenpoint, NYC-based duo (sometimes trio) comprised of Jessa Farkas and Camilla Padgitt-Coles. Prior to the group’s early 2009 conception, the pair studied electronic music at Oberlin College alongside their friends in Blondes and Teengirl Fantasy. Blondes member Sam Haar also produced the Water’s Edge EP, the group’s first officially released recording. In Future Shuttle’s beautifully dense brew of psychedelic reprogramming, Tangerine Dream meets the KLF at the UFO Club, and their three-track debut layers distant chants, drones and throbbing, time-frozen strings on top of each other, swelling gradually to a pining, beautifully textured crescendo. As Visitation Rites put it recently: “Discover their mile-long pillow-scapes in higher resolution, revealing an attention to texture and dynamic variation that can only come from losing track of time inside the studio, trapped inside your own spell.”
They’re also long-standing allies of the Body Actualized collective, having provided the dreamy soundbed for many a Vibes Management/Cosmic Yoga event. They will be the first to sonically christen the new and improved Body Actualized Center at the grand opening party on Saturday, March 24. They play at 5pm.
For static visual accompaniment, head to the Future Shuttle Tumblr. You’ll find images like this:
Or experience sound + vision with some YouTube action:
(Artwork and photo by Christian Roth)
Silence certainly has its place in yoga and meditation, but I also love a good spiritual soundtrack. This Transcendent Music series will highlight high-vibration music that can be an enhancement to your practice. I will first introduce you to Saito Koji‘s latest fuzzwash fantasy, Guide.
From the always-impressive Disquiet.com:
“A new year calls for a stellar dawn, a gaping-maw drone that captures the power of change caught at its attenuated fulcrum, when night turns every so slowly into daylight. In other words, it calls for Saito Koji‘s Guide, his recent release on the estimable Restingbell netlabel. The album contains eight drones, all slow as could be, and brief, too, keeping to under three minutes. There are occasional beats to be heard here, like the echoed presence of what sounds like a wooden stick rattling on a track titled “Saihate,” but otherwise this is music that locates the white-noise space between cicadas and church organs. And though the three-minute maximum length keeps the project as a whole moving, there are no admonitions against setting any one of them on loop. Here, by way of example, is “Peace”, which has a circulating melody that sounds like a bellow instrument, and a thick wash of what could be a nearby waterfall.”
If you love it and want more, the whole album is available for free here.
As a female musician, it always warms my heart whenever I see a woman playing some badass guitar. I felt the same way when I first discovered Sister Rosetta.