In a recent post, I talked about my understanding of the term “soundscape” and why I think it is an apt name for my music therapy practice. There is a more narrow definition of the term, though, one that applies to the album I am reviewing today. In this case, a soundscape is a musical portrait of a particular time and place, often incorporating sounds from or inspired by nature. Soundscape music is often included under the umbrella of New Age music. I don’t particularly like to divide music into genre categories, because I think terms like “New Age,” “alt country,” “house,” and “baroque” can be limiting and ultimately, rather meaningless when it comes to talking about the music someone likes or what is effective in a music therapy setting. (You can read more about that here.) This is especially true when artists are intentionally crossing genre lines in the music they create, and it is true for the album I’m discussing here.
The album is “Logical Drift,” a collaboration between two old friends: writer/composer/producer/performer John Matarazzo, and engineer/producer Logan Strand. Both have worked with legendary artists in the pop, electronica, and world music genres, including Blood Sweat & Tears, Bob Dylan, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Ravi Shankar, and Herbie Hancock. Needless to say, their musical experiences and interests are broad.
This duo’s current project has an ambitious and admirable goal. Here’s what they say about their collaboration:
Logical Drift is geared to produce a series of record releases, in which each release is specifically composed around a specific ancient cultural spiritual system, with a new age music twist; manifesting musical healing compositions that produce enlightenment, relaxation and tranquility. Logical Drift has begun to initiate a network of likeminded music therapy and musical healing practitioners and practices within the alternative education and new age community in order to support each other’s projects through music as a unification medium.
There are two things I love about this project that come across clearly in the music. First, this music embraces musical ideas from around the world and blends them together in a new sound. Cross-cultural collaboration is built into the project. Secondly, the artists are coming at this project with the intention of encouraging healing through music, and they are seeking to build connections with music therapists and other music practitioners. The spirit of collaboration is beautiful.
It is important to know, however, that no one album or musical selection will be helpful for every person in the same way. Some people may find this music to be very helpful for relaxation, but others may be turned off by the style of this music and not find it helpful at all. Some people may be inspired by knowing that this music is composed around a particular spiritual system; others may find that confusing or even offensive. No one piece of music can be perfect for every therapeutic or self-care need, and that is perfectly okay.
After listening to the album a few times, I can say that this music would probably be best for relaxation and reflection. I can imagine creating art to this music as a self-exploration exercise. I also think this album would work well for yoga or tai chi, particularly the first five tracks, in which the rhythm is rather amorphous and is a less pronounced part of the texture. The rhythm is more prominent in the final track, which has a more jazzy sound than the other tracks.
My favorite track on this album is “Shenandoah Psalm.” If you listen very closely, you can hear the familiar melody of “Shenandoah” in an elongated, undefined rhythm. The soundscape built around this song is harmonious and soothing.
If you are looking for music to accompany relaxation exercises or are curious about the work of collaborators who are seeking a fusion of various musical genres, I encourage you to check out this album. You can listen to samples or purchase the album at the Logical Drift website.
Also, one lucky reader will win a copy of this album by signing up right here on the Soundscape Music Therapy blog! All you have to do is leave a comment with your name below, and I’ll use a random number generator to pick the winner.
This giveaway is now closed. Thank you for your interest!