Not exactly a toss-off scale on which to begin an album.Such purposes are welcome from Samsara Blues Experiment, who recorded the likewise ambitiously-titled with former bassist Richard Behrens (also of Heat), who also helmed the last outing.Have you ever considered taking a meditation course? Here you can find out about my Vipassana experience, and also the reasons why you should incorporate meditation into your daily life.I’m not sure when my interest in meditation started.Each part of Vipassana is a chapter in the larger journey to clarity: 1.Of Climbing Heaven and Gazing on the Earth: inspired by a photo from Yann Arthus-Bertrand's traveling outdoor photography exhibition, Earth from Above. Stillness Flows Ever Changing: a river of sound creating waves of melodies that dance and weave around each other. Into all the Valleys Evening Journeys: influenced by the "hero's journey" illuminated by Joseph Campbell in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces. The Nothingness that is the Source of Everything: partly inspired by one of Bjoerk's Selmasongs as well as a song from Gustav Mahler's Rueckertlieder and featuring Denise Levertov's poem Variation and Reflection on a Theme by Rilke. Phillips' music, Vipassana humbly seeks to create a sense of wonder and beauty that inspires and enlightens. Phillips' ensemble Numinous, a collection of some of New York City's finest new music, classical, and jazz musicians. Phillips, admirably aided by the ensemble Numinous, delivers a stunning 18 minute performance here, blending elements of Steve Reich and Pat Metheny and other sources of inspiration into one of the freshest recordings of the year. It starts out sounding like something inspired by “Tubular Bells”, but surprise, it’s an interpretation of Buddhist texts set to music.
Wanting to reflect the essence of that quietude in music, composer Joseph C. If you like to bliss out to the gentle modal patterns and rich harmonic progressions of Steve Reich's "Music for 18 Musicians" or John Adams's "Harmonium" this album is for you.
Imagine Reich's Music for 18 Musicians, but with an expanded harmonic sensibility, a jazzier pulse, and occasional hints of sweeping Maria Schneider-esque melodies. A fusion of contemporary classical, jazz, new age and other left leaning musics, this is certainly head music for the cerebral, but it’s a dandy listening date for people that really like their alternative stuff from left field.
The individual ingredients are familiar, but I guarantee that you haven't heard them put together in this way before. Imagine Steve Reich collaborating with Maria Schneider . More of a spiritual descendant of “Music for 18 Musicians” than anything else, it has the appeal of that dense work but takes you to a different place. In the Pali language of early Buddhist texts "vipassana" means "to see things as they really are." The word is also translated as "insight" or "clear-seeing." It's a spiritual process based on instinct and intuition rather than reasoning and intellect.
Phillips' hour-long composition Vipassana is not meant as music to accompany the activity of meditation so much as it is itself a meditation on, and voyage through, various visual stimuli, though the last piece departs from that model in that it envelops a setting of a poem by Denise Levertov.
Musically, this quartet of stylish and provocative pieces stands somewhere between the style of Steve Reich and contemporary jazz, though parts of it are texturally much busier than Reich and the use of improvisation is fairly restrained, limited to solo space to spotlight some key players in the ensemble.