This one’s been easing me in and out of the days in perfect meditation and I’d have to say it’s highly recommended you do the same. New Age legend Laraaji has had quite a moment of late, moving away from his self-released tape niche in the past few years to be heralded by experimental outposts (Leaving Records, W. 25th) and archival houses (Numero) alike. On his latest for perpetual harbor All Saints, he leaves the drones and quavering harmonics of the zither behind to focus on rippling piano movements that wash the soul in the golden light of a half mast sun. While he grew up on the piano, the artist hasn’t really returned to it during his recording tenure. Instead he’s become known for the kind of body buzz harmonics and a New Age thrum that emanates from his echo-swathed instrument of choice. The lack of effects offers a marked difference here. With the help of Jeff Ziegler (The War on Drugs, Mary Lattimore) he captures the piano in a Brooklyn church, letting it feel out the space around it with a natural harmony.
The pieces are simple, but far from minimal. Approaching the instrument with the same bubbling glee, tinged with a slight whiff of sadness that has come through in his zither work over the years, Sun Piano is as centered as any of his works. Cascades of notes sluice through the spirit of the listener, unlocking lost memories, deep tensions, and well-up worries and dispersing them with a sonic acupressure. The joy that Laraaji brings to music is imbued in every fluttering note, and its clear that in his second stage the piano might begin to play an important part in his output. If this is only the beginning of that shift, I’m her for what’s to come. If this is all we get, then I’ll just have to cherish the shining embers of Sun Piano as often as possible.
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