PASTIMES OF CREATION
Kalindi Music KM006 – Mar. 24, 2018
Read the story of the album.
|1.||Pastimes of Creation||73.50|
|a. Mystic Sleep|
|b. Birth of Countless Worlds|
|c. Paramatma Expansion|
Over eight years in the making, this intoxicating, immersive, longform meditation piece weaves songs and chants from four performers into a transcendent music tapestry created solely from accordions and airbrushed percussion. The music is ideal for yoga and meditation practices, wellness spaces, and deep or background listening.
Accordionist Jaro “Prem” Czerwinec, best-known for his long tenure with the Cowboy Junkies (as well as recording work with the Skydiggers, Gord Downie and others), leads the way, along with singers Baliyan dasi and David Ludwig.
Pastimes of Creation is one continuous piece in three sections. Mystic Sleep sets the stage with a strong processed-accordion drone, barely-audible metal percussion and prior echoes of music, song and chant soon to be heard.
Paramatma Expansion begins with a mesmerizing atmosphere created from (but unrecognizable as) Jaro’s playing in the Countless Worlds section, topped with another, extraordinary half-hour solo. The second half of this section features another long chant swelling underneath the music, leading to a surprise coda.
Jaro’s three solos were all single takes, recorded live in the studio. The percussion, performed live in one pass by Greg M, is mostly singing bowls and Tibetan tingsha chimes, with occasional rain stick and shakers.
The album package features photography from Volodymyr Goinyk.
Pastimes of Creation will be available solely in digital format for now, with a CDR release to follow if there is sufficient interest.
Moorcroft’s credited with percussion, singing bowls, and samples on the recording, while Baliyan dasi, David Ludwig, Daci Jett, and Leyla contribute vocals. Pastimes of Creation plays without interruption, even if it’s structured in three sections, “Mystic Sleep” first and then “Birth of Countless Worlds” and “Paramatma Expansion,” the latter two presented in three parts apiece. Interestingly, it’s not Moorcroft who’s the musical leader but Czerwinec, with accordion textures by the long-time Cowboy Junkies member prominently featured (his CV also includes work with the late Gord Downie and the Skydiggers).
With accordion and percussion the sole instrumentation featured, the sound design is minimal, though vocals add significantly to the music’s impact and character, something that’s made quickly apparent when the mystical drone that initiates “Mystic Sleep” is sweetened with the faint, chant-like vocalizing of Baliyan dasi and deep, Tuvan throat singing-styled expressions that emerge thereafter. Incidentally, that chant, which possesses the hypnotic allure of a nursery rhyme melody, becomes something of a unifying motif when it surfaces throughout the recording, tickling the ear every time it does.
Though you’d never guess from listening to it, Pastimes of Creation was created over an eight-year span, having originated in 2009 when Czerwinec shared with Moorcroft the desire to record processed accordion playing accompanied by meditation songs and chants. Much of the instrumental content was completed soon thereafter, but the gathering of vocal contributions from friends took a great deal longer. When only months ago Moorcroft determined that he now had everything he would need to complete the project, he dedicated four days to assembling and mixing the material to render it into its finished form. As much as it seems tailor-made as a soundtrack to yoga and meditation sessions, it also holds up wonderfully on deep listening grounds, especially when it’s single-handedly capable of inducing states of serenity and spiritual calm.