I’m pretty fucking pleased with myself for getting out of bed and running almost 10k in -stupid° temperatures this morning. Sure the pace wasn’t necessarily quick but that was more a result of the slippery conditions more than any lack of fitness on my (our) part.
In short, it’s wasn’t too shabby for an “official” return to working out.
I’m going to try and carry that forward momentum then a bit further by completing this slow, restorative yoga stretch this morning as well partnered with this ‘Ambient 3: Day of Radiance‘ album by Laraaji (produced by Brian Eno).
This album is the third entry of Eno’s Ambient series, which began in 1978 with ‘Music for Airports’ (one of my Desert Island albums that I will need to review for you at some point soon), and was preceded by ‘The Plateaux of Mirror‘ and ending with ‘On Land‘.
So, yeah, lots o’ wind chimes n’ shit.
But while ‘Music for Airports’ was honest-to-goodness unobstructive music, ‘The Plateaux of Mirror’ was music to travel to, and ‘On Land’ was a tour into sound of the silence … ‘Day of Radiance‘ is essentially a tour into the ancient world of Buddhism.
How hip is that for a yoga workout?
And, believe it or not, I scored it at Niagara Records for just $5.00.
Edward Larry Gordon was a comedian/musician attempting to work his way through the Greenwich Village clubs in the 70’s when one day he impulsively traded in his guitar for a zither, adopted the name Laraaji, and began busking on the sidewalks. Eno, also living in New York at the time, heard his music somewhere down the line and offered to record him, resulting in this singular, unusual album.
Mark that: The album is technically a Laraaji album, and only PRODUCED by Eno.
Not that this diminishes it in any way, of course.
However, there’s not as much synth here as one might expect from a typical Eno ambient record. Here instead, Laraaji uses an open-tuned instrument with some degree of electrification (and, presumably, with studio enhancements courtesy of Eno), which creates a brilliant, full sound. It is definitely influenced by the minimalist movement; quickly-repeated, slightly varied motifs skirled by a very metallic-sounding harp; perfect for relaxed stretches and long drawn out yoga poses.
Note: Funnily enough, exactly one year ago today (well, one year minus a day) I was also listening to some pretty weird street-inspired ambiance (click HERE)…albeit, I wasn’t doing yoga.
The first three pieces, ‘The Dance, #1-3‘, are rhythmically charged and propulsive, with tinges of Irish hammered dulcimer music mixed with a dash of Arabic influence. The layered production gives them a hypnotically captivating quality and an echoing vastness, inducing a dreamlike state in which the listener happily bathes.
The two parts of ‘Meditation‘ are arrhythmic, ethereal wanderings, still effective if less immediately riveting. This album is now considered an early new age masterpiece and, while it shares certain aspects with the genre (including a heady mystical aura), it has far more rigor, inventiveness, and sheer joy of playing than the great majority of its supposed descendants. It possesses a sense of timelessness that has enabled it to quite ably hold up over the years.
Unlike my home yoga practice apparently, which has not stood up to the test of time.
I mean, sure, I do it…but even then, only periodically. And, of course, it’s never as good as it is with any practice I do in an actual studio under the direction of an actual instructor; judged as I may be from time to time (click HERE). I do ultimately miss it though…even though I do get to choose my own soundtrack to enjoy my practice to here at home and, today, that soundtrack just happened to be awesome.