Sunday, August 28, 2011 Leave a Comment
There’s a reliable trend that has continued through the decades, that of pairing music compilations with activities, whether it’s a romantic dinner, a retro cocktail party, or a road trip. I can’t say for sure that The Yoga Sessions is the perfect music for contorting yourself and then popping back into a Downward Dog, but EarthRise SoundSystem’s Derek Beres was a yoga teacher for five years, so he ought to know.
I expected this album to be a snoozer, frankly, a new age collection of sleepy tunes meant to promote relaxation and measured breathing. Instead it’s an engaging collection of downtempo worldbeat electronica that stands well on its own. Sure, it would work fine in a yoga studio, but it would also work well in the lounge of a Kimpton hotel. Beres and musical partner David Schommer both have a long list of production credits in their history and they have tapped a variety of interesting vocalists to bring some warmth and repeated listening allure to the project.
Some songs, like “Ajnabee,” feature vocals that are merely another instrument, with no lyrics. The Lucy Woodward vehicle “Daylight as Sunset,” on the other hand, would make Massive Attack proud. This is the clear hit single of the bunch, which is probably why it is featured in two different versions on the CD. “Marom” is another track that could stand well on its own as a chillout lounge staple, featuring Basya Schechter of Pharoah’s Daughter. “May All Beings” is percussive to the point of being danceable and “Rama” takes the overdone sitar music and chants one would normally associate with yoga and twists it into a six-minute Scorpion Pose.
The production is “light up your headphones” stunning, with a rich fullness that sounds even better on a cranked-up stereo system with real bass. There are real instruments throughout too, not just a bunch of bleeps and beats. This is not the kind of crap your massage therapist puts on to set the mood, or something your hack yoga teacher brings in to try to make you think you’re in Haridwar instead of Houston. This is good music that fits a mood, not mere mood music.