Friday morning on the 2nd of August, album release day! I opened up Spotify to see the album cover of ‘Listen’ on the Drunken Monk artist page. Being shy I have to squint at my face filling the album cover. With my heart in my mouth I listened to each song to make sure they sound ok. Whew! What really gave me a lift was a big pat on the back from BT Fasmer from the New Age Music Guide.
“Sounds amazing!”, he said …. Ok, I’ll take that! Big sigh of relief.
These tracks are like a sound bath, quite long so there is time for letting go into the sounds, relaxing the body and opening the heart.
Taking the music from the studio and publishing online is a big step. In the studio everything sounds cool. Playing it back on a laptop or on a phone is a different matter. So hearing it back on my phone sounding good was wonderful and I’m so happy to share this music with you now.
The first recording was made in the studio on the July 2014. Five years ago! My God! It started when I was on a retreat in Northern Germany. Not getting a lot of sleep I was seriously pissed off to get awoken at 4:30 in the morning by the loudest dawn chorus I’ve ever heard. I had a portable recorder with me and being awake I hit record. Just listening I calmed down and fell asleep. How cool was that!
When I got back to my studio in Dusseldorf I felt inspired. I took the recording and blended it with a guitar and piano that was the very first draft of ‘A Waking Forest’. And so it started.
‘Shikantaza’ came next and that was a labour of love. No nature sounds but I really got into the brain frequency stuff, binaural effects, brain entrainment and all that techy info. Plus I really had to practice the Shakuhachi flute for months. I never thought blowing into a piece of wood would be so challenging. Maybe for that reason ‘Shikantaza’ remains my favorite sound bath on the album.
The river I recorded in stereo. It flows right past our bedroom window but being in Italy I had to wait until midnight for all the noise to stop. You’d think living in a remote mountain setting would be quiet and peaceful. Humpf! Not so…there’s always some numpty wielding a two stroke engine, either to endlessly cut the grass or ride around the village on a motorized hairdryer.
So if you have the imagination that producing meditation music is all calm and sweetness then let me tell you, not so! It’s a lot of work but worth every minute.
The most recent composition is ‘Still by the River’ and is enlivened and enriched by the enchanting voice of Mrs Monk. I’m not just saying that because she’s the editor ( kissy kissy sweetie ) … she really does have a beautiful voice.
So do I now listen to my own work? Yes and it’s so nice to do so without thinking about the production side or rebalancing the mix. I can just relax and finally live the effects the music has.
Below is an intention description for each track, but this is my own perception and story. What counts now is your authentic one. If you let the sound surround you, accompany you, merge with you, what is gonna happen? This will be your unique story.
And please, If you feel like, let me know what was your experience, I’d love to hear that…
Listen to ‘Listen’ here:
If you want to support the Drunken Monk directly you will also find the tracks on Bandcamp.
A Waking Forest: based on a dawn chorus recorded in Northern Germany which features the Golden Orioles. Combined with soft streams, a blend of acoustic guitar, flute and smooth soft synths, blend to create a peaceful and evocative track that stills the minds and quietens even in the most anxious of moments.
Shikantaza: Shikantaza means ‘Silent Illumination’. This track features a Japanese Shakuhachi flute, bells and synths. This track has been designed to support concentration and alertness while de-stressing, to optimise creative functioning and wellbeing.
Still by the River: inspired by the gentle rhythmic sound of a quiet river, overlaid with peaceful acoustic guitar, wind chimes and enchanting female vocal harmonies. The intention is to relax the body and mind connection and to enable creative thought, inspiration and relaxed problem solving.
A Silent Forest: a remix of A Waking Forest but without the nature sounds. It is ideal for resting, falling asleep and promoting deeper states of relaxation and meditation.
Safety warning: don’t listen to ‘Listen’ while driving heavy machinery or while in the bath.