"Craft is what enables you to be successful
when you're not inspired." - Brian Eno
Monolith Cocktail OCTOBER 16, 2015 - by Dominic Valvona
LARAAJI - AMBIENT 3: DAY OF RADIANCE
"I find that people are having a chance to listen to a variety of music I do and some of their eyes are opening to what they call the more spiritual side and some who thought they just liked the spiritual side are getting in touch with the artistic side, and the adventurous, exploratory side of myself."
Number one instrumental in heaven? Certainly a contender, Day Of Radiance, a set of pulchritude paeans committed to tape at the dawn of the '80s, is touched inspirationally by the afflatus. Performed on the zither by the musical protégé turn stand-up comic, actor and dedicated student of Eastern spiritualism, Edward Larry Gordon, better known under the adopted moniker of Laraaji, and manipulated, crafted and produced by Brian Eno, this diaphanous suite was the third in a series of highly influential Ambient works.
Starting with Music For Airports, and going on to work with Harold Budd on the second volume The Plateaux Of Mirror, before in typical happenstance coming across one of Laraaji's closed-eyed meditative performances in Washington Square Park, New York, Eno politely suggested that his third installment of ambient series should include the flickering, plucked majesty of the divine. Standing alone, almost out of step, Day Of Radiance isn't wholly reliant on knowing any of these other Ambient collaborations and volumes. Though a joint venture, the spirit is Laraaji's.
Broken into two sections, with the shimmering, ethereal waterfall of interlayering chimes and nuanced gorgeous fluctuating particles The Dance #1-3 and the transcendental peaceable, near nothingness, of Meditation #1-2, the album completely relies upon the nodes and interactions between each resonating stroked wave of dancing light and plucked notes to conjure up an evocative pure background to... well, meditate, reflect or just lose one's self in. Despite its subtitles and 'ambient' titling, the first part is almost unrelenting as cascade after cascade leaves no gaps or spaces between those brilliant radiant waves. The blissful and harmonious impulses of chance that are either there or imagined by the listener are the real delight, as each new stroke overlies the next, the reverberations and interchanges creating angelic melodies. Superlatives don't do it justice, but this is a truly Seraph beauty of an album.
Re-released off the back of a number of Laraaji performances - in fact he was in our very own new adoptive home of Glasgow last week with his sound yoga; part of a European Peace Gardens tour - Day Of Radiance follows on from the world music label of choice, Glitterbeat Records, recent unearthing of lesser known ambient classics. Last year they re-released Eno and Jon Hassell's venture beyond the Fourth World Vol.1: Possible Musics, and look set to continue with this latest release. Enjoying a renaissance of late, the Los Angles-based Leaving Records is also re-releasing Laraaji's work, with a trio of recordings including All In One Peace: Lotus Collage from 1978, Unicorns In Paradise from 1981, and from 1983 Connecting With The Inner Healer Through Music.
Time to reacquaint yourselves with a master of the new age and important figure in the uncharted world of ambient and transcendental music; a tranquil, meditative experience waits.