Published: February 22, 2013
By: Lisa Disinger
A menagerie of music collected by Kalya Scintilla, Resonant Heart showcases a wealth of soundbending, psychedelic, downtempo music from several iconic names to a handful of up-and-comers. Scintilla's musical path follows a modern spiritual direction, a New Age sonic subculture that traverses the realm of healing and shamanism. He and many, if not all, of the artists featured in this compilation, upholds similar views about the virtues of music, sound, and divinity. It is only appropriate that this compilation would be released via his label Merkaba. Merkaba can be described as an energetic vehicle, so to speak, taking on a three dimensional geometric shape, that surrounds each being. We all have our own merkaba fields, but we can also join in a collective to form an energetic caravan. In his collection, Scintilla has done just that; unified otherwise disparate musical productions and blended them in order to transmit a comprehensive sacred sonic experience.
The collaborative album was released this past Valentine's Day, and highlights the importance of Love in its contents. On the cover we can see a traditional image of The Messiah, with a neo-spiritual flare: colorful swirling geometric patterns and illuminated energy centers. In lieu of holding his bleeding heart out to the viewer, we now see him cupping his heart chakra in offering. These reformed spiritual concepts carry over into the music of Resonant Heart, with an introduction by the Desert Dwellers, crowned forefathers of the world/psybass/downtempo genre. Simple and absent of rhythm, we first hear thick, hymnal chords, indeed resonant in sound, full of entrancing harmonics and playful overtones. Immediately following the introduction is the ubiquitous headliner Random Rab. This combination of awesome notoriety from the get-go is no mistake, and if you are drawn in by the music of these producers, you will love what's to come.
Random Rab tags in to deliver groovy, full figured bass, touched with angelic flutes. The collection remains on an amorphic note until track six, Mr. Squatch with "The Squatch Expands." This steps things up with a progressive beat, a feeling of movement and anticipation leading into Kalya Scintilla's own track, perfectly framed in the middle. "Abundance" plays with sound space and time, moments of silence strategically juxtaposed with thick layering that creates a squishing and stretching of rhythmic perception. Ensuing is Birds of Paradise (Bird of Prey + Gibson) with "Skyward Eye," returning to the progressive 16th beat, but this time with a sense of arrival, completion, and conclusion.
Two standout tracks that come back to back are "Soul Blood" and "Agrowthiate." The former courtesy of Alice Spacedoll, adds a twist of conventional chord structure, four to the floor beat, and feminine pop vocals amongst the amorphous ambiance. The latter, by youthful sensation Futexture, is a sort of theme and variation built around the modulation of a repeating mandolin melody. The most noteworthy factor, however, is that the track is built in 6/8 meter, an unconventional gait that creates a galloping, jig feel. Truthfully, I don't think I've ever heard anything in the vast genre of EDM in 6/8.
As I look over the compilation, there are so many names involved that it is impossible to give worthy attention to them all. Although the more notorious fish may reel you in, all of the colorful sub-species swimming in their midst are of acknowledgeable importance to the musically symbiotic ecosystem. The final big name bait is artist Soulacybin with a number titled "Through Love." Reverberating vocals, sparse reggae strums, and other dub-based effects are effortlessly mixed with neo-crystalline melodies, and a surprisingly light amount of wub. In this number New Age goes retrograde, back to its inception in the 80's with allusion to the simple sounds of the analog synthesizer.
Sacred and spiritual music takes the form of many sonic possibilities, often dictated by the folklore and traditions of a culture. Here, ethnic roots peek through in a full variety of early age, melismatic chanting, ranging from Catholic Gregorian to Hindu mantras. We even hear instrumentation from Yiddish clarinet to Meso-American flutes. These fragmented sounds of timeless divinity dance with warbling, gurgling, and less gracious ones that define modern psychedelic bass culture.
Talking synthesizers, seemingly wordless, compose a universal gibberish language, sending out message that can be interpreted ad infinitum. An interesting way to think about it might be "speaking in digitized tongues." Although utopian concepts are given breath with vocalized mention of "Ohm, ""Abundance," "Expansion," and "Love," perhaps they are more effectively transmitted through the feelings that are inspired by the music and sounds that surround them.
DowntempoDubstepLivetronicaBreaksDrum and BassPsytranceGlitchHip Hop