From Disquiet Junto #323, “Music for Meditation”, this is a sampling of the entries. Curated by RadioSpiral admin Joe McMahon (whose entry for the challenge we aired last week), this selection represents our top choices from the over-six-hour playlist.
Today, once again, we offer a program of musical meditations. Breathe….
“[S]pectrally delayed partials and freezes of a Tibetan bowl sound.
this is a seamless loop, so set it to repeat and go on forever…” by Volker Böhm, from Basel, Switzerland. (7:00)
A super-subtle drone and more. One of our few female artists, Birgit Jauernig from Vienna, Austria. (20:00)
“For this lengthy piece, Suss Müsik began with a simple organ riff that was played through a Moog MF-102 ring modulator. The sound of breathing was sampled and distressed to match the timbre of metallic percussion. You might hear voices and flutes in there as well. A chime enters at the 1-minute mark and repeats just before the final ascension back to consciousness. The piece is titled Lůno, named after the Czech word for “womb” and dedicated to little Zachary Isaac (who was born this week to good friends of Suss Müsik).” (18:00)
Much more symphonic approach from G. L. Smyth – “Not being one who meditates, it is rather presumptuous for me to write a piece for meditation, so I wrote what I think I would want were I to do so. I felt that a drone would be the best way to go, so that was used as the underlying idea. A bell is to be played a minute in and a minute away from the end, so I divided the piece into eleven one minute segments with the bell denoting each minite’s dividing point.
The drone is grounded on a c minor chord where every minute through the sixth minute a small amount of complexity is added, with the complexity progressively removed as the minutes move past the halfway point. Music For Meditation is eleven minutes in length, but can be looped to offer any multiple of the eleven minutes.” (11:05)
From L. K. Joyce, pianbient to subtle Berlin school to drone and back again: “Meditation often involves focusing your attention on something that is organically changing – so I wanted my music to give some options for this, such as the repeated piano notes, or the short looping elements that gradually evolve, or the timbral and spacial changes of the reverb cloud. I wanted the piece to gradually ‘defocus’ and then regain an altered focus towards the end, returning to the piano notes that it started with. Often what is sought in meditation is not ‘The Answer’, but a different way of questioning ourselves / our situations – so I tried to evoke that concept with a slightly questioning manner in the coda rather than having a more usual stable harmonic resolution. With these ideas in mind, I then improvised the music using several tools to create a series of mental spaces to move through.” (16:01)
Post-rock drone from Total Energy, who’s a bit of a mystery. Powerful and different from most of the tracks. (11:44)
Wistful Eno-like piece by Ameliechan – “Loops of different lengths laid over each other,” exactly as done in Music for Airports, celebrating its 40th anniversary this month. (17:00)
World-music-esque from Lionel Benancie (4:41)
From Jean Reiki in Singapore: Rain, nature, and melody – “Added my field recordings which was done via Zoom Recorder and Soundman OKM binaural ear mic. Started off with rainy nights and ended it with nature reserve sounds. Best to listen this piece with headphones / earphones as I used a binaural mic to record them, hence the 3D like sound of the field recordings. Been exploring the parameters in Logic Pro’s Alchemy synth, so layering all the textures, tones and pads to create this meditative piece, which is mainly inspired my restful stay in a house at Bromma (Stockholm) last year. Hope y’all find some sort of inner zen listening to this piece…” (12:00)
Chris Boulter, in London: “The little I know about the zen form of mediation is that it exists in a place that isn’t really about concentration and thinking at all, but more in the areas of neutral observation and acceptance. And that music might actually provide too much focus. So I’ve gone for some form of slow polyrhythmic chimey kind of effort with a background drone. Instrumentation is various eurorack modules and some added field recordings; I’m sending some of the eurorack through the Nearness panned mixer which was developed in part on a thread on the Lines community (https://llllllll.co).” (8:13)
Ethan Hein, in Brooklyn: ”
– A synth patch that Francis Preve helpfully made for me as a way of explaining how the synth in “Rez” by Underworld works. I added some Max For Live LFO randomization.
– My two-year-old daughter improvising vocals through Auto-Tune, which, as it turns out, she loves doing.
– A Wavetable preset called Endomorph.
– The opening two bars of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean”, slowed down and lowered in pitch by an enormous amount.
– A sample of “Haitian Fight Song” by Charles Mingus, also slowed down a lot.
– Berimbau sampled from “Africadeus” by Nana Vasconcelos.
– Gamelan sampled from I forget where.
– A bell I recorded with my phone in a sculpture garden in Long Island.
– Me playing harmonica through Auto-Tune.”
What they meditate to in Twin Peaks. [JM] (8:00)
Ohm Research’s Manifold: comment from a listener: “like a millon orchestras tuning up” (7:00)
rmtsnd: Orchestral, miminalist. Very Steve Reich, but with even more heart. This one may may you weep too. It’s gorgeous.
“I wanted to explore an orchestral but highly textured / cinematic dream like response.”
Daniel Diaz pulls magic out of “…the Requinto on the photo (taken on recording location); an instrument I bought in Tegucigalpa 22 years ago that proved to be a nice travel companion and perhaps the worst instrument I own. A real bastard when it comes for tuning and playing comfort.”