An hour of music, laughter and spirituality.
From his early days performing with a modified autoharp for passersby on New York City's parks and streets, Laraaji has been on a mission to transcend and heal through music. As a new generation of people have embraced various forms of spiritual and meditative music, Laraaji's catalogue, littered with gorgeous, dreamlike albums like Essence / Universe, Celestial Realms and his collaboration with Brian Eno, Ambient 3 (Day Of Radiance), has been ripe for rediscovery.
Laraaji's RA Podcast arrives on the cusp of his latest LP, Sun Piano, a suite of 12 improvised piano pieces recorded in a Brooklyn church with Jeff Zeigler. RA.733 is a one-off, hour-long recording of new music, composed with an electronic zither/autoharp, field recordings, Tibetan Bowls, a synthesizer and Laraaji's own voice and laughter. ("Behind every serious face lies a core giggle ready to emerge if I set the right environment," Laraaji, who hosts regular laughter meditation workshops, told us last year.) He describes his podcast as a "multi-instrumental live sound journey" that offers an "introspective, soothing and visionary" listening experience.
What have you been up to recently?
Many phone and Skype interviews for the Sun Piano release... recording tracks and mixes for long distance, Internet collabs... shooting a virtual laughter playshop for Nike.. Deep silent inner contemplation.. Nada yoga (listening to inner cosmic sound current).
How and where was the mix recorded?
Mixed in NYC Harlem with live at home performance and improvisational remixes of works in progress.. Recorded and mixed to digital decks, microphones and line in acoustic electric…
Can you tell us about the idea behind the mix?
I intend to offer a listening experience that is introspective, soothing and visionary, leaning towards a therapeutic listening mix.
Has the pandemic and quarantine changed the way you think about electronic music?
I think more appreciatively for making electronic music in quarantine... As I can perform and record any hour of day or night without disturbing neighbors who are also in quarantine.
Tell us about how your upcoming album, Sun Piano, came together as a live performance
Sun Piano was originally suggested by Matthew Jones at Warp Records, as I had already done a Sun Gong and a Sun Music album... we felt it was time for a solo album with the piano... it came together in an empty church in Brooklyn with Jeff Ziegler as engineer and a large concert grand piano. Two days of improvisational performance recording, all fresh new music except for "Shenandoah."
What are you up to next?
Release of Sun Piano solo album July 17th, 2020, through Warp/All Saints Records. Deeper introspection, shooting another live home laughter meditation video, waiting for concert/yoga workshop tour dates to resume.
Photo credit: Daniel Oduntan