"Be Still and Glow” consists of the following three albums wrapped in an obi card: Sun Zither 1&2 1984 90+ minutes of non-stop sun-drenched Zither Ecstasy. A refreshing new sound journey through ecstatic hammered open-tuned zither string board, through jazz-funk rhythms with improvised rubbertipped mallets, through rattled, stopped Zither. Chaos with wooden chopsticks, through ethereal steel slide string sound exploration to take the classic zither sound way out of the box. An exploratory adventure in sustained open modal tuning, elegant electronics and virtuoso performance mastery. Tonings 1&2 1980s Tonings 1: Shimmering celestial Zither and OM chant continual deep induction listening for expanded inner-stillness. Tonings 2: OM chimes ladder, Kalimba (African thumb piano), hand chimes, spontaneous laughter release, chant, & chimes distortion (heavy at times towards end). Celestrana / Deep Chimes Meditation 1980s Calming, gentle, continual, patient, relaxed-pace solo electric zither feeling. Home cassette recorded in the 1980s. Mood of contemplative stillness. Peaceful, introspective listening. Deep Chimes Meditation: Classic, Space, Peace, Zen, Timelessness.
This original 1984 cassette home recording was inspired by request for personal long play soundtrack to accompany a delivery room child birth in Florida. It was intended to welcome a newborn child with love, ecstatic joy and high positivism. Casiotone M70 electric keyboard and chant singing while in prepared vision trance, C Major.
Professional Sunflow is the first-time collaboration between Laraaji & Sun Araw, two colossal forces in contemporary electronic music. Laraaji's musical radiance has continued to shine brightly over four decades since being discovered by Brian Eno in New York's Washington Square Park in 1979. Sun Araw emerged out of Los Angeles' experimental scene in 2008 with transformative releases on a variety of trend-setting labels (Not Not Fun, Drag City and more). The live performances on this double LP - recorded in Germany and Switzerland - combine prewritten elements and improvisation. Laraaji's soulful vocals and signature instrument, zither, blend beautifully with the free-floating rhythms of Sun Araw's Cameron Stallone's (guitar / keyboards) and Alex Gray (computer synthesis) to shape Professional Sunflow's unique sound: dreamy layers of percussion, ambient textures and vibrant melodies. W.25TH is proud to present Professional Sunflow as our inaugural release. As a sub-label of Superior Viaduct, W.25TH will focus on inventive sounds from current artists.
The reissue of a rare 1987 album recorded for the Audion label. Consisting of two epic half hour pieces, Essence/Universe is Laraaji at his most immersive and exploratory. Heavenly tone clusters that stretch out into infinity and recall Popul Vuh’s soundtracks for Werner Herzog. Floating, dream-like music to lose yourself in.
Laraaji’s glistening album “Ambient 3: Day of Radiance” has from the beginning been considered an outlier. Though widely celebrated at that the time of its release in 1980 -- as the third installment of Brian Eno’s emerging ambient music series (Ambient 1-4) -- the album also brought with it an aura of mystification. Where did it fit in? An uncharted synthesis of resonating zither textures, interlocking, hammered rhythms and 3-D sound treatments (courtesy of Eno) “Day of Radiance” seemed to push open many doors at once, ambient music being only one of them. Though there are certainly aspects of the album that find sonic common ground with other Eno-related “ambient” projects (the tracks “Meditation #1 & “Meditation #2” in particular) the album is not easily boxed into a singular genre. “Day of Radiance” also mines the ethereal spiritualism of late 70’s New Age music (of which Laraaji is considered a pioneer), the harmonic and rhythmic repetitions of American classical minimalism (Terry Riley & Steve Reich) and traditional global sounds from India and Java (particularly gamelan music). And while Laraaji never explicitly embraced the “Fourth World” theories of fellow visionary and Eno collaborator Jon Hassell, “Day of Radiance” echoes a kindred exploratory exoticism. The appearance of “Day of Radiance” as part of Eno’s landmark ambient series massively elevated Laraaji’s musical profile. In the years following, while he maintained contact (both personal and musical) with Brian Eno, he delved deeper into projects that fused the ethereal qualities of his music with spiritual studies and teachings. Laraaji describes the purpose of such music this way: "I see music as an environment providing thinking, feeling and imagination, an alternative space, container, within which to behave differently. In the case of music as medicine, such music allows for thinking, feeling and imagery to reconnect to a deeper sense of integration, union, oneness…" Laraaji has experienced a resurgence in recent years, following a renewed interest in outsider new-age music (he appears on last year's “I Am The Center” compilation on Light In The Attic) and a career spanning compilation (“Celestial Music 1978 – 2011”) and reissue project dedicated to his work by Eno’s All Saints label. Laraaji also continues to interface with other of musicians who have found inspiration in his work: Bill Laswell, Sun Araw, Blues Control, Julia Holter and many others.
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Leaving Records presents three reissues of seminal works by new age musician, composer, and laughter meditation workshop leader Laraaji, recorded between 1978 and 1983. This is the first complete reissue of these works. Lotus Collage 1978 (Tracks #1-2; 59 min.)Recorded with a freestyle open tuned electric zither and harp. “One of my first home electric zither recordings, recorded live in a Park Slope, Brooklyn living room during my street performer/busker years in the late 1970s.” – Laraaji. Unicorns in Paradise 1981 (Tracks #3-4; 1 hr, 4 min.)Recorded with Casiotone MT-70 electric keyboard and an open tuned zither harp. Described as, “Flowing atmospheric improvisation, inspired by trance imagination; an ideal habitat in another dimension of timelessness.” Connecting with the Inner Healer... 1983 (Tracks #5-10; 1 hr, 28 min.)Five movements of “Trance Celestial” are from Laraaji’s 1982 self-release Rhythm and Blues. “Connecting with the Inner Healer Through Music” was created as support listening music for a full-day workshop by the same name at South East Spiritual Conferences (SESC) in Greensboro, NC, 1983.
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