By Jim Brenholts
(Reviewer’s Note: For comparison’s sake and for our “prosperity”
issue, I have elected to pull a CD from the archives and review it
alongside the artist’s newest release. I am referring to Liquid Mind
and Ambience Minimus — his debut from ‘94 — and Liquid Mind VII:
Reflection — his ‘05 release.)
(originally released on CW Records)
Ambience Minimus is a classic in the ambient music community. It is the debut release from Liquid Mind — Chuck Wild’s recording pseudonym, While “classic” can be an overused term, it is entirely appropriate in this case, this CD holds its own — and then some — after 11 years.
Chuck has fashioned his niche with gentle drones, colorful atmospheres and bright airs. The atmospheres are pastels — pinks, yellow, greens and azures. He surrounds the colors with melodic airs. The drones play beneath that mix and the elements converge to create euphoric soundscapes.
This disc can be played as one magnificent soundscape but Chuck has designed it as an ambient symphony with four movements. Each movement feeds from the previous and into the next. It forms a huge circle as Chuck invites focused listeners into the holistic healing environs.
(As a seasoned listener and sound-healing practitioner, I can attest
to the staying power of this CD. It as vibrant and essential as it
was 11 years ago. I find myself drawn to its power frequently.)
Liquid Mind VII: Reflection
Chuck Wild, aka Liquid Mind, has found a formula that works so he has stayed with it. (“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”) Liquid Mind VII: Reflection is definitely within that formula and an improvement at the same time. The basics — colorful drones, gentle atmospheres and euphoric melodies — are there in great quantities and there is a little extra.
(A personal anecdote will clarify the power of this disc).
In my position as a Corrections Addictions Specialist, I work with and serve clientèle from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. These men are often hardened criminals and — more often than not — do not want help. In order to be as effective as possible, I am compelled to implement creative treatment plans and modalities. I have instituted a bi-weekly relaxation group in which I use mood music and lighting to create a safety zone.
In my first group in this setting, I used Reflection as the mood definer. I was amazed at how these “hard cases” responded and reacted. They talked about being in their “happy places,” with their families, in God’s presence and “on a gentle brook, floating away.” One hardcore heroin addict described the sense as being the closest he had ever come to the warmth and security of “being in the womb.” (That is a common description of the effect of opiates.)
Now, that treatment mode is not — by any stretch of the imagination — a miracle cure. About one third of my clients do not complete our program and more than half of those who do complete it relapse within a year of their release. My personal experience tells me that the majority of my “successful” clients embrace some of the more radical elements of a holistic recovery plan. While this is not a radical concept to you — our readers — it is to my clients.
The other element that remains the same is the overtone quality of Chuck’s music. His process involves the use of overtones that align and center the body’s biorhythms. It is almost impossible to ignore the psychoactive properties of this disc.
This CD is 2005’s top healing album — so far. There are not enough
superlatives in the English language to do it justice. (And i only
know a little bit of German — so it will have to do!)
Gerald Jay Markoe
There is — perhaps and probably — an infinite number of ways of practicing and enhancing one’s spirituality. It has often been said that “God doesn’t care what you call Him/Her, just call Him/Her.” With that concept underlying this project, Gerald Jay Markoe has created the Sacred Traditions series to “expose listeners to a variety of (spiritual and religious) practices.” Accompanying booklets and liner notes offer movement towards “spirituality from another viewpoint.” That is an inspired and inspiring thought.
Ancient Ceremonies is the fourth CD of the series and it is sweet. Using acoustic instruments (harps, flutes, woodwinds, strings and bells) and undefined textures, Gerald has fashioned a vehicle for approaching spirituality from the Druids’ point of view.
Quite by accident — he was in England working on another project — Gerald found inspiration during a visit to Salisbury Plain and Stonehenge. He met a pagan priestess who shared some Druidian ceremonies with him. (Their traditions and ceremonies have been passed through generations verbally. There are few — if any — written documents that describe their rituals.)
Gerald brought his inspiration back to the USA and began creating this masterpiece. He started the process in 2002 and has released the CD in 2005. While this set has limited electronics and overtones, it is still vibrant and rich and an excellent healing tool.
Gerald is a virtuoso composer, performer, sound designer and
technician — in short, a master craftsman. The loops and layers are
enchanting as they take listeners to the edges of reality. Deeply
focused listeners might cross the edges of perception. The narcotic
effects can be that strong. The disc is, however, a safe and
essential addition to any holistic healing library.
Chakra Chants 2
Jonathan Goldman is a world renown author, musician, chant vocalist and holistic healing practitioner.
Chakra Chants 2 is a set of seven chant (vocal and instrumental) compositions tuned to the body’s chakras and their corresponding mantras. This is about as deep and spiritual as it gets! Jonathan uses Tibetan singing bowls, Tibetan bells, tuning forks, shells, overtone chanting, shakers, harps, and nature samples to effect this penetrating and visionary magic.
That is exactly what this is — MAGIC! Atmospheres and over-tones wrap themselves around the synapses and neuropathways in the brain. They take listeners into the fold with opioid effects. (There are scientific explanations for this process. They involve dopamine, THIQ’s, serotonin and physiological reactions/responses. I am somewhat familiar with them but I am not an expert. Besides, the explanations are boring and do not matter.) The coolest thing about this experience is the trip! It is, well, magic and there are no harmful side effects. When the journey is over, the listener/meditator/practitioner returns to the real world and enjoys the positive side effects — rejuvenation!
The progression of the compositions is natural and smooth. Jonathan follows the chakras from the feet (base) to the head (crown). Each piece is slightly more intense than its predecessor, thus allowing each listener to set his/her own pace. Each sound design element plays an integral role in the adventure, leading to many roads, most of which are familiar, all of which are comfortable. Each expedition, however,
is also unique in and of itself. The progression allows for multiple doors and windows to open. The progression becomes exponential.
Jonathan has a rich history of revealing love and spirit through his
music. He is an important and essential figure in the holistic
Deborah Van Dyke
Traveling the Sacred Sound Current: Divine Chants & Sacred Tones for Healing & Meditation
Sound Current Music
1 (877) 77SOUND (72863)
Traveling the Sacred Sound Current: Divine Chants & Sacred Tones for Healing & Meditation is the companion CD to the book of the same title — both by Deborah Van Dyke. This is extremely deep and spiritual — a great companion to the CD reviewed above. Deborah uses acoustic instruments and overtone chants, augmented with “ancient vessels,” to create warmth and harmonic convergence. She has very few peers in this style of holistic sound healing.
This CD contains nine tracks of sacred chants and tones. Deb-orah has arranged them so that the experience intensifies as the healing session progresses along an uneven yet consistent path. Deb provides the consistency. The moods of the listeners provide the diversions.
WOW! These overtones are strong and direct. They tap into the neuropathways completely and immediately. There is little doubt that
the music takes over. Casual listening is possible but unlikely.
Focused listening provides an intense awakening, journey and
denouement. The spirit is filled and blessed as the structure
embraces the soul.
Mere words cannot convey the depth and power of this delightful experience. It is natural and essential.
(Reviewer’s Note, Part 2: After I reviewed these CD’s, I retreated to my listening space and set the changer to “all disc shuffle.” WOW! I did have a rather long session (slightly over two hours) and did not get through all five discs. It was a completely relaxing experience. When it was over I felt ready to face my day with the ability to handle all challenges with positive energy. I can recommend this rotation without reservation!)
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