Thursday, September 27, 2007

In Review--(Archival), Anders Rogg & Audun Myskja

Anders Rogg & Audun Myskja
Kirkelig Kulturverksted
My former reaction to sound healing recordings was a great big yawn. This wasn't because I did not believe in the healing potential of sound and music, but that most of the sound healing music I had heard was filled with clichés. 

However, Anders Rogg and Audun Myskja of Norway have delivered an intriguing double CD, Videre of healing songs that entertain my mind, soothe my body, and allow my soul rest for a bit. Now, I have an extremely short attention span. For those of you who know astrology would know that someone with a mutable T-Cross and a Grand Trine in the water element is not the type of person that can sit still for long. Yet, I have found myself sitting through both CDs a couple of times now and the subtle music took the restless edge off of me. Is this healing? I think so.
So why are these CDs different than the usual new age healing music? First of all, the music here is extremely sophisticated and arranged in such a way that one German music site called the recording "Ambient Symphony and sound poetry." And this journalist was not being arty because that is exactly what you have here, a true healing art. The music is similar to what you would find on the German label ECM, elegant ambient musical arrangements with a variety of European and traditional instruments ranging from piano, tuba, the Armenian duduk, harp, strings sans the violin, Tibetan bells, celeste, an Indian santoor, percussion, a wordless choir, tin whistles and low whistles, mandola and accordion. Trygve Seim brings in saxophones and on the second disc and all of the instruments are arranged in intriguing ways.
Second, you will find many of the elements of sound healing such as harmonics, vocals coming from the heart chakra, Tibetan bells, harp and warm tones in a major key. The sounds are so quiet and subtle that you really must concentrate and not allow your mind to wander off in meadows of daydreams. Also this slow and moody music married sounds from my environment, the crackling of the heater, buzz of the refrigerator, the neighbor attempting to start the reluctant engine on her car, an airplane flying overhead, rain dropping onto the roof, and the ticking of a clock reminding us that all sounds musical and mundane are part of a grand symphony of our lives. And well, focusing on sounds in general depending on our perspective can be meditative and relaxing.
Finally, this recording was carefully thought out to bring healing to its listeners. The packaging features soothing green, the color of the heart chakra and violet, the color of the crown chakra as well as a white background which to me represents a clean slate and a new beginning which is what some healing is all about. Both discs feature different instrumental arrangements. Disc 1 represents ambient chamber music with harp, strings, piano, celeste and accordion. Beethoven's Arietta appears twice on the disc, on the second track in which it features strings and piano and on the final track which features celeste and strings. In fact, the piano tracks on this disc are reflective of Beethoven's nocturnes and sonatas.
Disc 2 could be called more adventurous and the composer moves away from the chamber arrangement and plays around with different timbre while never leaving the ambient atmosphere. This CD features 13 tracks and it's fun for the mind to guess what sounds its hearing at any given time. In 2001, Anders Rogg released, The Sound Of Light in Norway where to date has sold 10,000 copies and has had a healing effect on various ailments including, insomnia, distress, muscles and joint pain, seasickness and tinnitus (ringing of the ears). Videre has the potential to do more as far as healing goes because all the instruments are acoustic. It's my belief that acoustic instruments possess a higher vibration than synthesizers and other electronic instruments.
"We may not know what music is, but we know something about what music can do. For indigenous people, music has always been part of their curing rituals. In recent decades in our own culture, music is enjoying a renaissance as medical therapy." (Liner notes). But you do not have to be sick or stressed out to enjoy the music on this recording. Just let it sink into you.

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