Posts Tagged ‘Michael Stearns’

Samsara-What Goes Around….

October 12, 2012

Here the Echoes Samsara Interview on Echoes weekend stations.

Echoes Samsara Echoes Podcast: Listen Here.

Samsara is the third feature film from director Ron Fricke and producer Mark Magidson.  Like their previous movies, it explores grand concepts with grand images and grand music.  Samsara is Sanskrit for “continuous flow”, the repeating cycle of birth, life, death.

Ron Fricke:  How we created it is as a nonverbal guided meditation on the themes of birth, death and rebirth.  It’s about that flow.

The film travels across the globe with spectacular footage of dancers in Bali and China, temples in Burma, and worshipers in Mecca.  These spectacular and scenic vistas are interwoven with scenes of destitution, abject poverty and natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina where they shot buildings decimated by wind, rain and floods.

Bagan Temples in Burma from Samsara

The score, half written by their long time collaborator, Michael Stearns and the other half by Lisa Gerrard from Dead Can Dance and her writing partner, Marcello DeFrancisci, is an ambient global meditation with none of the sweeping orchestral sound that is the convention for this kind of film.   In these non-narrative films, with no actors or dialogue, music is the emotional conduit.

Ron Fricke: I would say it’s at least half, 50/50 image and you know, in music.  It’s really, the dialogue of the film is really the music.  It give you the emotional context of the film.

Mark Magidson:  We’ve been doing this for a while and Michael is a big part of the process as a partner.  Michael’s music is very spacious and that kind of approach is conducive to this kind of filmmaking and the kinds of films that we’re making that leave space for the viewer to bring something of their own reality or their own experience to the viewing experience, where we’re not trying to necessarily say good or bad, or right or wrong with the imagery, it’s open to some interpretation, but the experience is guided.

You can hear an interview with Ron Fricke, Mark Magidson and Michael Stearns talking about Samsara in the Echoes Podcast.

~© 2012 John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

Echoes On LineNow you can go Mobile with Echoes On-Line.  Find out how you can listen to Echoes 24/7 wherever you are on your iPhone, iPad or Droid.

You get great CDs like these and our October CD Club selection,  Hans Christian & Harry Manx’s  You Are the Music of My Silence  by becoming a member of the Echoes CD of the Month Club.  Follow the link and see what you’ve been missing.

Join us on Facebook where you’ll get all the Echoes news so you won’t be left behind Dead Can Dance appear on the show, Tangerine Dream tours the states or Eno releases a new album.

Music from the Hearts of Space makes 25th orbit around the sun

September 29, 2008

Music from the Hearts of Space is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. They launched their nationally distributed show in 1983 although it originated 10 years earlier from the studios of KPFA in Berkeley, California.  To commemorate the anniversary, they’ve put out a CD with the music from their initial syndicated show called No. 1First Flight. As Echoes goes back to our own first week of broadcasts to celebrate our 19th anniversary this Friday, it’s remarkable how well the music holds up, but more on us later. 

Hearts of Space First Flight

Hearts of Space First Flight

 Judging from First Flight, hosts Stephen Hill and his original partner, Anna Turner, who died in 1996, proved from the start to have highly refined tastes as the original connoisseurs of the drone zone.  Although frequently branded as a “new age” show, HOS rarely plays material like Music for Meditation, Reiki Healing or Music for Yoga, except, perhaps, for Tony Scott’s ground breaking Music for Zen Meditation.   In fact, they never even played much “space” music.  In over 25 years and over 850 shows, they’ve only played Tangerine Dream in 13 programs.  That said, the collection includes a space music classic from Michael Stearns, his surprisingly undated Planetary Unfolding, a composition of slowly evolving electronic textures and subliminal melodies.   But mostly, HOS looked far afield for what they often refer to as contemplative music. David Darling‘s “Cycle Song” from the jazz inclined ECM records is as refreshing in its chamber jazz stylings now as it was in 1982. While the recordings of the original 1983 broadcast have been remastered from CD, a real find is jazz reed player Charles Lloyd‘s “Pathless Path.” The faint scratches and surface noise from this still vinyl-only 1979 release bring back those days of strange intersections when Lloyd was in an overtly spiritual phase creating his world jazz exotica. While most of the music here ascends to the timeless, Kitaro‘s “Free Flight” from Tunhuang sounds very much of its time and a little sappy, though I still remember how thrilling and exotic his CDs appeared in the late 70s and early 80s when they were only hard-to-find and expensive Japanese imports. Deuter‘s “Haleakala Mystery,” on the other hand, recalls how deep Deuter could go back in the seventies, something he’s rarely done since.

Stephen & Leyla Hill of Hearts of Space at Echoes

Stephen & Leyla Hill of Hearts of Space at Echoes

 A lot of people think we are Hearts of Space while others think we must be fierce competitors. We aren’t and we are. While HOS and Echoes sometimes fight for airtime on radio stations, Stephen Hill was actually a supporter on the Corporation for Public Broadcasting panel that provided the money to launch Echoes. He probably thought anyone foolish enough to produce 10 hours of radio versus his one hour, had to get some aid. Stephen and his wife and partner, Leyla, have proven to be a mentors and friends over the years and we’ve shared our homes, meals and scuba vacations together.

Most of all, we’ve shared a passion for new music that pushes the envelope and expresses a spirit beyond this world. So happy 25th to Music from the Hearts of Space, still in orbit after all these years. 

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

%d bloggers like this: