36 – Spotted Peccary Music SPM-0036
For me, listening to music offers a sense of transcendence of time and space, as well as an increase in physical and mental awareness of internal and external stimuli, including sensitivity to color, light, touch, sounds, and smells, the rhythm is steady, the melody invents new patterns. The feeling is of a non-judgmental acceptance and investigation of present experience, learn some things about it and see things in it if you are willing to look (or take a listen) at what is going on and think about what is going on.
1. About the album 36
The ambient electronic sampler with the title 36 was released on January 3 of the year 2023, and offers a voyage through eight amazing albums, one track from each album released during 2022 by Spotted Peccary Music. Bandcamp offers access to this compilation as a “name your price” gift for each of this numbered series of anthologies for any and all listeners who love electronica and ambient soundscapes.
2. The tracks
The first track is the biggest…
The first track on this album 36 comes from the album IN, which was born from finding wonder in the tiniest of places, nature wrought in new colors. Places where a macro world of beauty surrounds, and micro budding plants and spores are towering colorful structures of a seemingly alien world; the greens and blues of tree and sky replaced by microbial fuchsia, garnished with luminescent folded violets. IN celebrates this notion in a deeply emotional and explosively powerful display in musical form and vibrational intensity as to bring awareness to the self in every listener, the unshakeable notion that going inward within the self, where endless magic is discovered, as well as healing and inspiration is nurtured.
The strength builds and broadens into a wide atmospheric dancing ground, a form that brings light to the world, wide circles, graceful glides, a solid beat sustains, the pulse is strong, and rising. For track 2, from the album Metahuman, you might want to find your sturdy cosmic dancing shoes, much territory is spanned and then floats upwards, to fade into a pleasant extended psychedelic form of darkness. “Immortal” (5:44) allows life to make sense as never before, life becomes transformed as you explore the infinite potential, the miracle of our very existence. This track makes me think of breathing while running, with rock drums in places.
I feel the beat whilst riding mountain forms, expanding and gaining complexity. Deepak Chopra, whose book Metahuman inspired Sverre Knut Johansen to create an album with the same name, claims that one may attain “perfect health,” free from disease and never age or die. Human aging is fluid and changeable, it can speed up, slow down, stop for a time, and even reverse itself, yielding indestructible new dimensions of stress-free living and joyful living.
Perhaps knowledge cannot be defined through…
…perception, because of the vastness of space-time, with its myriad stars and planets, and the ceaseless drama of life. We are the authors of space-time, we must embrace our true role. The third track is by Craig Padilla. His album Discovery of Meaning is about the concept of experiencing life in the present moment and beyond: The birth, the now, the future, and everything in the Universe is affected by the meaning of its own existence. It is a continuous discovery that we humans learn by living life through our own space/time continuum. Throughout our childhood and our adulthood, we are learning the meaning of new things, the meaning of relationships, the discovery of health, the meaning of intuition, and realizing the pros and cons of surrounding ourselves with positive (and negative) energy. To be a child, to be a parent, and to be a child again.
Track 3 on this album 36, “Drift in Memory” (6:21) is an experience of time and space, stars, planets, cells, atoms, souls, everything has a meaning of its reason for being here. We are connected beyond ourselves. We are one with Time and Space. And that is a concept we learn once we experience the Discovery of Meaning. Listening, I feel like I am floating in warm light, I imagine opening new doors with different stories in each place. The feeling is slow and sustaining, soon a new form emerges, faster but held in the warm light, layers. This music to me says “home.”
The meaning of life, the significance, purpose, or…
…worth of human existence, meanwhile, sleepers and the shadows own unknowable darkness and is nothing if not the place from which the present grows. I hear distinct celestial bodies and believe that this indeed is the perfect space music. It is a metaphor for the larger world of possibilities that opens up as humanity expands its capabilities and the desire to look into the past. Padilla is interested in the future, the past, what lies ahead for the human race, and all of time that humanity has left behind.
According to legends, the mountain is home to countless holy spirits and possesses an array of holy properties. Music can be an invitation to explore such a world while being good to it, discovering truly stunning treasures which might appear to sound as if they were suspended in the air. Listen to the most mind blowing colors, exploring the remains of opulent elevated palaces, temples, fortifications, markets and much more. Invest precious time soaking in the breathtaking acoustic views, structures appear to be cascading down the side of the steep, rocky cliffs. “I have tried to establish a sense of infinity and freedom, and the sense of timelessness that seems to come with it,” reflects the composer, Zero Ohms, who adds flutes and woodwinds to his electronic soundscapes and gets a very unique and serene, mellow and meditative sound, evoking gravity-defying remote places and fabulous scenery.
The fourth track, “Unknownland” (2:45), from the album Cloudwalker and the Ascent, takes me to jungle spirits. I hear birds and wind and now feel far from home, calling amidst the strangers with my twisted breath and birds hold the sky up, above the trees.
You might feel like you could wander freely…
…across the top of the absolutely fascinating reliefs and discover hidden gems. Then you realize that this is all made of clouds. Seen from a distance, it looks like a golden sci-fi fantasy, remarkable for a vivid imaginativeness, a gorgeous play of fancy air. You get closer and the feeling becomes more intense. Swiftly flies the time, lost in a glimpse into the rich history & culture of an age of awe-inspiring structures intended to honor the first gods.
In the history of humans it has been said that the world has always existed, or the world did not always exist but was created in some way, or the world previously existed, but in another form, and has somehow been brought into this present moment. The two artists known as Desensitized deploy new technologies which create a sonic experience that has never before been considered to be possible. Perhaps poetry, and by extension, music, never needs to explain itself.
Can it explain itself? Why should it explain itself! The spirit here is restless and explores or exaggerates a wide and changing range of strange clues, the story is layered and complex too. What I find are strange sounds to listen to. The pursuit of music is often playful and imaginative, daring and exposed. This is time spent listening carefully because it is interesting and I want to hear it all, I might miss something.
I hear singing spirits, two spirits at least, probably…
…two, one is devilishly deep, and one is a lady. “Sleep of Innocence (Embulata)” (4:52), from the album Chaos in Premonition, takes place in a slow forest, with faces changing in the low light, hearing the unknown and meeting the spirits, listen to their lullaby hum and experience new bubbling dreams.
Night is often associated with trepidation and evil, plausibly because of the psychological connection of night’s all-encompassing darkness to the fear of the unknown. Darkness’s obstruction of the sense of sight is naturally associated with vulnerability and danger for human physical survival. There are no markings on the night sky, though there exist many sky maps to aid stargazers in identifying constellations and other celestial objects. “Tunnel” (5:34), from the album Noctilucent, takes motion in the darkness, swaying on the train as it pulses, going somewhere new. The music gives me anticipation, wondering about the power in the darkness swaying on the train as it buzzes, bass notes fly, slowly reaching out.
“I am quite strongly influenced by my visual and aural surroundings,” confesses Tucson area composer Jeff Greinke. “I take long walks most days in the desert, sometimes at night under a full moon and am often inspired by what I see, hear, and experience – the texture of the landscape, clouds, the sound of birds and insects, changing light, and different kinds of weather.” Track 6 is from his album Noctilucent.
Close your eyes and become immersed in…
…the soundscapes and transported to another state of mind, a most potent and pure combination of perception altering collection of pieces of music thrilling to the senses. This is music with a logical purpose, and there is always a progression. There are infinite free wheeling electronic sounds but there is an overall tonal framework. The story of water is explored methodically and not simply pulled out of the aether. “Changing Course” (7:59), from the album Emerald Waters, takes us into moving water, deep currents swelling and curling. I have a sense of rising while deep in the darkness as distant vague forms move about, I am not sure which way is up out there, but I feel calm anyway, rolling over long stretches while that melody remains.
This seventh track is a celebration of the greatest natural resource on our fragile planet. Without it, we do not exist. The music is an attempt to convey the beauty, importance, and power of water in our world. This music is a mix of elements of Berlin School, some traditional melodic structures and emotional chord progressions, infused into an electronic music landscape. It is intended to be uplifting, contemplative and emotionally moving.
John Gregorius has found the world to be a…
…deeply spiritual place, finding peace in nature and the wilderness. He explains. “The solitude, openness, resilience, mystery, and life in spite of the sometimes harsh and difficult landscape, leads one to contemplation of a bigger meaning and understanding our true selves. This meditation of creation and Creator is the unifying color and design of this recording. My hope is that it brings a sense of being awake and alive…”
Listening, one might imagine some consciousness of absolute or divine reality hidden behind the natural world and within the music, and sometimes music is such a subjective experience in which at times an individual’s ego transcends their ordinary, finite sense of self to encompass a wider, infinite sense of truth or reality, unfolding like a puzzle being fit together. The concluding track, “In Awe” (5:28), from his album by the same name, In Awe, uses a guitar form with decorations, the feeling is steady and calming. I have a refreshing sense of awakening here.
The human experience can include a love of certain sounds, and the way that music can inspire a sense of deep inner knowing, understanding, remembering, or unveiling of one’s true nature, as well as experiences of peace and equanimity, bliss, ecstasy and aliveness, feelings of awe, sacredness, gratitude and reverence, and of abundant, unconditional love. Music can be the product of creativity informed by faith, allowing an emphasis on feeling, on intuitive insight, on a true essence beyond the world of appearances, to restore light and life to a dwindling world.
Spotted Peccary has been releasing music…
…for 36 years. This 2022 compilation, titled 36, was created at the end of the year and is a celebration of this past year’s releases. The album 36 starts with the cinematic IN by David Helpling. Sverre Knut Johansen offers an homage to Deepak Chopra which is inspired by Chopra’s book by the same name. Then we have Metahuman; Craig Padilla’s album Discovery of Meaning offers an opportunity to “Imagine a huge open book with light shining out of it with ideas of Life and the Universe flying out and around it;”. On 36 he is followed by a track from Cloudwalker and the Ascent, from Zero Ohms (Richard Roberts) who himself follows what he has termed Tao of Zero Ohms (literally: way of no resistance) .
Then we have Desensitized’s second album, Chaos in Premonition, from Deborah Martin and Dean De Benedictis. They offer a form of audio art beyond ordinary comprehension. This is what history probably sounds like. All of the sounds heard on Jeff Greinke’s new album Noctilucent are electronic. He returns to his roots after writing music for small ensembles and acoustic piano. Hollan Holmes album Emerald Waters offers all the colors of the blue and green spectrum, celebrates a sharper, icier precision and fascination with melody and repetition and textures. Finally, John Gregorius has always enjoyed finger-style acoustic guitar and ambient, processed electric guitar, also the idea of universal cycles, In Awe is a celebration of being mindful of the world around you.
The year 2022 was an amazing year, 2023 begins!
4. Where to buy the album 36?
The compilation album 36 is available as a free download from Bandcamp.
Written by Robin James, March 23rd, 2023