In Awe – Spotted Peccary Music SPM-1804
Mindfulness is a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you are sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment. Practicing mindfulness can involve breathing methods, guided imagery, and other practices to relax the body and mind and help reduce stress. Appearances are deceiving, and the truth is that no one is just like everyone else. Our goal, therefore, is to learn. In Awe does not impart a story, the music allows for the understanding of what it means to be human, and everything that we are, every single aspect of creation is sacred, a pathway to the heart of God.
1. About the album In Awe
Growing out of a search for meaning within life’s mysteries, and his deep love for the guitar, John Gregorius intertwines the physical and spiritual, a combination that seems to flow naturally from one piece to another. What you will hear on In Awe are instrumentals focusing on the finger-style acoustic guitar and ambient, processed electric guitar. All of the songs heard on his newest album on Spotted Peccary Music, In Awe, were written, produced, and mixed by Gregorius himself, who plays guitars, keyboards, percussion and developed the drum programming. Sean O’Bryan Smith plays bass on all songs, Mitch Ross plays drums on three songs, Benjamin Fleury-Steiner created the synth bed for Everyday Miracle, and Kim Daniels contributes her wondrous ethereal vocals to three tracks on this album In Awe.
Perhaps this music is a gentle reminder to pay attention, and that there is more to life than what can be empirically measured or scientifically observed. There is time to discover these beautiful characteristics emerging from within and slowly transfiguring us. It is hard to slow down and notice things in a busy world. Try to take the time to experience your environment with all of your senses – touch, sight, smell, taste, and hearing. Be kind to your wandering mind.
2. The tracks
The sonic worlds that Gregorius has…
…created in his imagination are enchanted, not by magic or fantasy, but by an even more startling truth that ultimately cannot easily be put into words – the universe is a love note from God. The title track on the album, “In Awe” (5:28), is a melodic instrumental with ethereal vocals featuring Daniels and the tempo of Ross, who reinterpret the word-free tradition in meaningful and sometimes surprising ways, allowing the listener a space for meditation, contemplation, silence, solitude, stillness, and practicing the idea of universal cycles, such as day and night, to repeatedly restore light and life to a glimmering world.
Light is at once both obvious and mysterious, a bright form of energy given off by the sun. Faith affects us in subtle ways, imageless, stillness, and wordlessness, unfathomable or dauntingly incomplete. “Light” (3:55) reveals the only truth that matters to some listeners, the presence of God in our daily lives. Gregorius is heard here on keyboards, joined by Ross on drums, to express what is truly inexpressible or ineffable, the mood is moderately paced, perhaps a bit meditative.
Benjamin Fleury-Steiner created the synth foundation that emerges beneath the electric guitar phrases, “Everyday Miracle” (6:03) has a delicate and meditative pace, when the drums join all the breezes come together. When the drums pause, there is a transformation to suspension and that is when the miracle happens. A miracle is not something we achieve; it is something we receive, awakening to the working of God that is perceived in all that one experiences. Different musicians present different images and ideas, too often people tend to have a very limited, stereotyped view of what it means to be spiritual.
Being “new” only happens once…
…this is perhaps a tribute to discovery and mindfulness, expressing the renewal of our minds with a feeling of the infinite. “New” (5:18) features the vocals of Daniels and Ross playing heartbeat drums, with Gregorius on acoustic guitar, bringing a living organic tempo with layers of soaring chord work, simple and open, showing new ways of knowing and loving based on states of awareness. You might be moved to suspend judgment and unleash your natural curiosity about the workings of the mind, approaching our experience with warmth and kindness, to ourselves and others.
“Here Now” (4:25) exists in an eternal present, we are all getting lost in thought, noticing it, and returning to our chosen meditation. The moment might rest in anything, and in fact probably does rest in everything, in every thorn on every bush, in every drop of water in the sea. Gregorius weaves cyclic fingerpicking patterns and electric guitar layers, joined by Ross on drums and Smith on bass.
When it comes to exploring the secrets or mysteries that are hidden, locked away in the heart or mind, sometimes what you need to do in a real-life situation is to go out and get more clues, allowing access, passage, or a view through an empty space; not closed or blocked up. And yet, over time, the feeling does seem to emerge, one begins to have some consciousness of absolute or divine reality. “Open” (2:59) simply means not closed, accessible, unimpeded, as an open gate. Not drawn together, closed, or contracted, anyone can inspect, modify, and enhance what is found, electric guitar finger weaving layers repeating, building a sense of collecting.
Ascending describes a rising or…
…growing thing, climbing to unexpected and fascinating places, very carefully moving towards great heights, and experiencing a sensation ultimately free from gravity. On the track “Ascending” (4:06) you can hear acoustic guitar, strings, perhaps a cello, and a piano. All of us have somewhere in us an instinct to try and become better, choosing gratitude until we are grateful and accepting the possibilities for expanding our gratitude awareness. The graceful voice of Daniels blends with electric guitars and programmed percussion, establishing a simple melody that creates a sense of confidence and peace. Appreciative of benefits received, unfolding like a puzzle being fit together, “Gratefulness” (5:39) is more about the heart than the head, more about our embodied sense of spiritual living, rather than just a set of abstract beliefs or principles that one is supposed to believe.
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we are doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what is going on around us. “Wonder” (4:50) arrives to wake up to the inner workings of our mental, emotional, and physical processes. Hidden behind the natural world and within the music oriented towards contemplative prayer, the sound of electronic instruments and guitar is slow, respectful, and radiant, the feeling aroused by something strange and surprising to think about something because you want to know more facts or details about it.
3. Where to buy the album In Awe?
Written by Robin James, May 18th, 2022