East Forest: Prana

east_pranaPrana is a deep, cleansing breath of music, a calm and uplifting meditation–which is fitting since, as Trevor Oswalt, the man behind East Forest notes, “Prana was recorded and improvised live in an underground former silo in the deep southern Utah desert over the winter solstice of 2012. The temperature outside was at about 10 degrees below zero; inside, I was playing right next to a giant wood stove, and around me were twenty or so sonic journeyers forming a circle on a slate floor.” Now you get to take part in the moment, and while it may not be as cool as meditating in a silo, the music retains its wonderful, salving potency. Piano takes the forefront here, accented with soft synth washes and chants sung in a language that exists strictly in the heart. I love this aspect of Prana; Oswalt uses “channeled sounds intended keep our language centers quiet and our hearts open,” but theser ur-words carry their own weight and intonation, and we the listeners, in turn, translate them according to our own emotional needs and understandings. The piano is gentle yet insistent and strong, with a very New Age quality to it. It takes on a Steven Halpern feel when Oswalt switches to electric piano on “Samana,” and your core vibrates in harmony with its deeply resonant tone. Oswalt’s playing across the disc is honest and full of meaning. And he packs a lot in without overloading. Natural field recordings wash in at the edges. Wind, water and crickets. Wind chimes sing. Time just sort of fades as a consideration while you’re listening. Prana is just five tracks and 46 minutes long, but it’s so cleansing and relaxing, it feels pleasantly longer. Just leave this one on loop and fill your space with it. It’ll do your soul a whole lot of  good.

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