I’ve been paying tribute to my most inspirational kindred spirits in this series. Part 1 featured Arvo Pärt, Steve Roach, Jack or Jive and Lucette Bourdin, while Part 2 cited Eric Tingstad & Nancy Rumbel, Sequentia and Robert Rich. Onward!
My reviews of Steve’s albums Coniunctio, Soul Spiral, What is Memory (duo with Disturbed Earth) and Upwelling capture the essence of what makes his music irresistible for me: his ongoing search for deeper meaning and connection. Steve’s variety of instruments and textures lends a rare breadth to his music that complements its great depth and clarity.
Steve sums up his motivation:
To put it simply, music is medicine… I feel like music, music made with a particular intent and purpose, is needed in this world at this time. What I feel some of are doing with ambient music is akin to how music was created and used thousands of years ago. Not just as background, or to impart a particular story or message, but to create the possibility for a different kind of life, a different way of approaching life, living it, of literally altering consciousness and opening new worlds of perception—in a way we have forgotten about and are just now remembering. Music can reconnect us with ourselves, our surroundings, each other, the Earth, our collective and individual pasts, our potential futures, larger consciousness, opening our minds to other ways of seeing and experiencing all these things. It’s a hugely important task in this time of great change and possibility and I want my music to be a part of that movement from the old paradigms to the new.
One of the great unknown albums I discovered through Steve Roach’s webstore was Harmonic Meetings by David Hykes and the Harmonic Choir. It’s one of that handful of essential albums which I would keep to the end. Hearing Solar Winds is another powerhouse.
David’s joyous Harmonic Chant (overtone singing) and his commitment to meditation and healing all mark him as a kindred spirit from whom I can learn much.
One of the best musical recommendations I ever had was to check out the Pat Metheny Group, in Toronto in 1989. Pat has been a source of inspiration ever since, with many solo and group projects that consistently break into new territory without losing sight of the past.
The eponymous PMG album, Letter From Home, The Way Up, Pat’s solo New Chautauqua and – especially – the title track of As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls are all high points for me, as are the three concerts I’ve witnessed, the latest with the Unity Group in 2014.
I always thought of Pat’s concert with Jack DeJohnette, Herbie Hancock and Dave Holland (Toronto 1990, touring the Parallel Realities album) as the best rock show I ever attended. And that was before I learned that those three gentlemen had all worked with Miles Davis, who reportedly aspired to give us exactly that.
Continue to Part 4: Sacred organics, a restless seeker and those prog-rock mystics.