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THE MUSIC OF RASA is based on Indian devotional love songs from the Vaishnava tradition, sung in Bengali and arranged with both Western and Indian elements. RASA honors the spiritual values of the Vedic culture while expanding the traditional threshold of devotional music. All of their CDs to date have received world-wide acclaim.IN A LIVE CONCERT, Kim Waters' singing in Bengali and Sanskrit is accompanied by Hans Christian on cello, sarangi, nyckelharpa, sitara, and electric bass. In addition, the artists are also using a sophisticated setup of samplers and live-looping devices to create an unusually rich and textured sound. Their concerts are both meditative and invigorating, full of virtuosity and devotion."Beautiful devotional music that combines ancient eastern mystical prayers with lush western orchestration and ambience. This music really touches my heart." -Jai Uttal



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LAWRENCE BLATT: The Color of Sunshine

Here is an update on my newest cd called ”The Color of Sunshine”. The basic concept for the album is that both light/color and sound/pitch are a function of vibrating waves that are similar and related. Music and moods are often described using the metaphor of color, as in the passion and intensity of being ‘red hot,’ or the melancholy feeling of ‘the blues.’ Given this natural relationship, I used colors as the inspiration for different moods and emotions on an entire album. I composed one piece after another working sequentially through the colors represented in the light spectrum which include red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. I then ordered the music on the CD in the sequence imposed by the light spectrum. Since white light, including sunlight, naturally contains all of the colors of the spectrum, I begin and end the album with two pairs of compositions that are reflective of blended light and color.

After two self-produced solo guitar albums I decided to branch out to include other musicians as well as production by legendary guitarist William Ackerman (Grammy winner and founder of Windham Hill Records). In addition to being a solo artist, Ackerman also is one of the most respected producers of contemporary instrumental music. According to Will, “Passion and intellect merge in Lawrence Blatt's compositions and performance. His musical instincts amaze me. He can move through a very broad landscape of musical influence and never seem imitative or insincere,”

It was an honor and a pleasure working with Will on the new album, especially since he is an accomplished guitarist himself. He instinctively knows what works on the instrument and was able to introduce additional instruments and textures played by other musicians without taking away my voice or vision.

My guitar style bridges many genres ion the new cd including new age, neo-classical, folk and world music with subtle, hinted-at elements including Latin, Mid-Eastern, jazz, bluegrass, Hawaiian and pop-rock. I play a variety of steel-string and nylon-string acoustic guitars, acoustic bass, two different Hawaiian ukuleles, a small South American 10-string charango, the occasional keyboard and a variety of percussion on the album. I am also joined by top musicians such as T-Bone Wolk(who has worked extensively with Hall & Oates) on bass, accordian and slide-guitar; Derrik Jordan on percussion; Jeff Oster on flugelhorn; Steve Schuch on violin; Patrick Gorman on drums; and others.

The new tunes “Look to the Sun” and “The Color of Sunshine” join “Under the Sun” from my first album and “A Little More Sunshine” from my second CD as part of an on-going “Sun Suite” featuring related musical themes. The next two compositions on the new album, “Gray Salt Marsh” and “Infrared: The Abyss,” depict the edge of the color spectrum."Gray Salt Marsh" was inspired by a foggy, overcast day exploring the protected wetlands near where I live; and ‘Infrared’ covers light we can not normally see which represents the unknown, that area beyond perception.

The color spectrum songs start with song “Alhambra (The Red)” which was inspired by the red sands of the Moorish desert and the pink-tinged fortress of that name in Spain, and continues with “Orange Blossom Honey” (a solo ukulele piece) and “Jaune (Yellow)” influenced by seeing people sick with jaundice or chronic Hepatitis C, watching their skin turn yellow, and following their difficult therapy procedures. Next is the solo guitar “Green Corn and Spring” a no-overdub tribute to my growing up in Indiana, “Mar Azul” is inspired by the Pacific Ocean, from where I live in San Francisco and all the way to South America, and “Violet Blue” has a bit of sadness in it. Following are two more edge-of-spectrum pieces -- another unseen-light number “UV Radiations” and one representing the absence of light “‘Black Rock Beach’ whixh is a place I go snorkeling with my son, Zack, in Hawaii, so he contributes on beat box and I use a Hawaiian taro-patch tuning on a tiny parlor guitar.

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The Dreaded Categorization

“So what kind of music do you do?” Oh if I had a dime for every time that question was asked of me. I don’t know. In fact I have no $&^%in’ clue. I have tried to categorize it. I really have. Radio, music stores (there are a few left), record companies, promoters, distributors all want to know the answer to that question. Audiences do to. Even though the audience is the most open to not having strict categorizations they ask me that question more than all of the others combined. So everybody wants an answer, in words, of what kind of music I do.Ok, it is a fair question. I personally regard it as unfair because I don’t know how to answer. “Oh its kind of a house, hip hop, new age, neo-classical, instrumental, pop thing. With ambient overtones and shades of polka.” “Earthy tones with a great finish and touches of cherry and limestone”. Describing wine is easier.So where do I belong (other than in the home). For better or for worse I seem to fall into the New Age category. Predominantly piano at this stage of my career New Age is the only category where I fit. Classical? Neo-classical, Modern classical? Those might work but frankly classical is the kiss of death for a modern composer that is not trying to get played by the local orchestra. Besides I’m not dead yet.And puleez no “serious composer” label. I am not serious about anything, especially music. Art is play. I play and some little voice tells me what to play and voila art happens. That same little voice has not told me to do anything that would land me in jail… yet. But don’t think I don’t see the similarity. It is all in what the voice says not the voice itself. Who knows what it will say tomorrow?So New Age it is, I guess. I do like crystals. They’re pretty. Don’t know if they will balance my Chakras but hey if they do I can undoubtedly use the balancing. And if the goddesses allow me to sell a gazillion copies of my next record I promise to name my next child Sky or Ambrosia or Isis or something.G
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Who Is In The Music?

The famed landscape photographer Ansel Adams was once asked why there were never any people in his photos. He answered "No you're wrong there are always two people in my pictures. Me and you".Artist often get all caught up in their artistry as if the piece lived in a vacuum. As a composer I get to hear the piece first. That is all. And when I hear it is is a combination of the notes and my ears just like anyone else. Until the composition is heard it is just a bunch of meaningless notes vibrating in empty space. The ear, the hearer gives the notes their meaning, not the composer. The composition takes place in the ear and in the heart of the listener and it happens in the moment it is heard. Outside of that it can be rightly asserted that the song doesn't exist at all. Would the music be music if there were no one to hear it? No, just vibrations of energy wandering aimlessly.You are the composer not me.
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I must confess to a general lack of knowledge of the new age music scene. I'm a psychic pianist, and I give piano readings ( to individuals and small groups. Only recently have I thought of bringing channeled healing music to a larger audience, so my education is just beginning!Except for studying and/or playing piano since the age of 5, I buried myself in Bible study, math, science, computers and science fiction. Living through my rational left brain as I did, I did not notice breakthroughs of intuition until I was in my 20s -- inconsequential bits of information that I had not obtained through the five ordinary senses would suddenly register at random moments. But it was another 12+ years before I finally tried to understand what was happening to me.It took what I thought of at the time as a lot of courage to actually consult a psychic reader to ask about this phenomenon. After waiting another year (I always argued with myself about these things), I was led to a pair of teachers and enrolled in both clairvoyance and energy healing classes.I gave my first piano reading -- playing the music that comes to me as I meditatively get in tune with the person(s) I am reading -- to my wife in February of 2007. Things have progressed since then so that I now play regularly as a reader at weekend metaphysical fairs (headphones on a portable electronic piano).The resulting music is very healing for the hearers. It speaks their full truth to them in musical form, and it helps amplify their intentions for their greatest and highest good. For me, it is always an honor and very satisfying to play for others in this way, and it provides quite a departure from the classical music repertoire with which I am more familiar. :-)
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Celebrate Your Uniqueness

The great 20th century French painter, Henri Matisse, is quoted as saying, “It has bothered me all my life that I do not paint like everybody else.” Thank God he didn’t. His use of color was so unique that it ended up making him stand out from the rest. (see Matisse paintings)Being a singer/songwriter, I’ve met so many singers/recording artists over the years who have wished desperately that they could sing like others who had found success. And haven’t we all been guilty of that at some point - of wishing we could have the talents of others?Not too long ago I caught part of an interview with a well-known jazz singer (well-known in the jazz world, that is). She’d seen the peek of her career in the late 50’s and early 60’s, and was reminiscing about how she knew from the beginning that she didn’t have a great singing voice - that she wasn’t trained and didn’t have the abilities of other singers who’d become successful - but she did know that the voice she had made her unique. She learned to celebrate that uniqueness, focusing on her strengths, instead of her weaknesses. What seemed in the beginning to be her greatest challenge, eventually became exactly what she needed to stand out from the rest!
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Ludovio Einaudi

Live In Berlin - Artist: Ludvico Einaudi, Label: Klassic Radio Records ReviewProbably the most impressive find of the year, Ludvico Einaudi renews my faith that music comes full circle, but with always with a twist. Einaudi takes neo-symphonic music to heights heretofore unheard of by us mere mortals. Every note is enthralling and every song soothes the spirit in those that like their music with a strong nod to classical music without the restraints of classical structure. Better than cinematic scores and music without words. If you buy one album this year, make it Live in Berlin. Special attention goes to the track Divinere.RJ Lannan
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So Where Does The Music Come From

I know that people get pretty fascinated by a piece of music. And they often assign some degree of specialness to the musician or composer or songwriter. Hey I have gotten dates because I was a musician so there are perks. I feel the same way about visual artists. Completely incapable of creating a piece of art beyond stick figures, I am in awe of artists and assign to them a status high above the rest of us mere mortals.But where do these great creations come from? Rather than wax philosophical I will simply relate my own experience. What happens to me when a piece of music is being written? What happens is one of two things. I either hear sounds in my "head" or my fingers just know where to go, or at least get close to.And that is quite literally true. Not being a really gifted player I play a lot of wrong notes when I am writing. Funny thing is I know its a wrong note and the little voice says "Nevermind we'll fix it later". Now later comes and then I will say "I wrote that" but in the moment nothing could be further from the truth. It just happened. It didn't feel like me and frankly, oftentimes it doesn't even sound like me.When I first started hearing voices (and I am so glad they were singing to me rather than telling me to blow up a subway or something) I was impressed by the fact that I couldn't actually play what I was hearing. This was before computer music workstations that could digitize what I was playing and print me out a score. So I would play it as best I could, literally struggle to keep up, write it down before I forgot it (remember actually writing music notation on a piece of blank staff paper?) and then go back and try to learn to play it. I was never a great player so learning what I had written was often a chore. But this whole process did make me wonder. Other than taking dictation do I have any role in any of this at all?Ok, maybe it is time to philosophize a touch. These are just observations mind you not a well defined or consistent cosmology. In my experience, my role in the process is a great deal like the role of the instrument. The same song played on a piano will sound completely different played on a guitar or a sax or a full orchestra or sung by a boys choir. Same song different instrument. So what is the purest rendition of "the song"? Ponder that! Every instrument conditions it, colors it, shades it. So what is it? What is that "thing" that is being conditioned, colored, shaded?...The human body is one of the most remarkable instruments ever created (uh... evolved?... spontaneously generated?... seeded here by aliens?...) And when I say body I just don't mean the structure I mean the whole package; body, mind, perception, consciousness, responses, the whole package. Just like the piano conditions the song so does the particular body/mind that is playing it or he/she who initially hears it.I tend to experience the human being (uh... that's me) not as an entity but as an instrument, vibrating in sympathy with the touch of an invisible hand. Like the guitar string vibrating when it is plucked and vibrating in a uniquely individual way. Now please don't jump on that and think God or Spirit or Universal Consciousness or any of that sort. Ah the invisible hand, must be God. I have no idea what "It" is and in fact, any idea any of us come up with will be a speculation. I am not trying to say what "It" is. I am just relating my experience of "It". I think all the words we use for "It" are all concepts generated to make us feel safe in the face of a supremely baffling mystery. Or worse, to make us feel that in some way we can control it, appeal to it, entice it, get it to somehow do our bidding or at least drop down a few boons now and then. My experience is "It" controls me. If what "It" wants to do happens to correspond to something I want to have happen it is merely coincidence.Music for me is an experience I have that does not appear to originate in this body/mind (a.k.a 'G'). On the contrary, this body/mind appears to me to be responding to it.I started this blog to talk about what I am going through putting an album together and how I decide what gets used and in what order. It is indeed a complex and involved process involving dozens of large decisions and thousands of little ones. And it is true that all those decisions will get made. I just don't think I will ever know who is actually making them. But hey, you know what? I don't actually care. I don't care why the waves break on the shore. I don't care why a smile from a small child can stay with you all day. I don't care why a seemingly random stream of sound vibrations can make you cry or jump up and dance. I don't care why clouds float by in a blue sky, turn black and violently soak us in water and then the tree blossoms and gives me oranges to eat. It just does and I am just so glad that it does.G -
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He Starts To Decide (Maybe)

I am trying to create an album. Yes that is the antique term but I like it. I still use the term record too. I know it is now either a CD or a digital release. Too cold for me. It is a collection of work so album, like family pictures feels better.But I digress as I often do when I can't actually make a decision. It is always nice to wax philosophical when you don't have a $&%^in' clue as to what to do. Philosophy is nice and can often impress chicks at parties. But I have to make something real here. So I sort through all the work that I want to release to see who/what bubbles up to the top. Release is a nice word isn't it. Releasing a work of art. Setting it free. Letting it have its own life among those who will love it, hate it, adopt it, judge it, bring it into their life. There I go with the philosophy again. See I still can't make up my mind.So I have about 25 candidate to make it onto an album that will contain 10, 12, maybe 13 pieces. No less than 45 minutes, no more than 60. That is the rule. Isn't it? I don't know where that rule came from (the Bible? the Vedas?) but there it is. I almost started to philosophize again. So how do I decide?iTunes is a helpful tool here. Put all the tunes in a playlist and then random shuffle it to hear them in different orders. Then move them around myself and listen to the transitions. No it hasn't helped me decide yet but it is a tool I didn't have the last time I made a record.. er... CD... er... digital release.One way I have chosen to decide is to postpone the decision. Excellent strategy no? Actually I decided to do something uncommon for me and ask the advice of others. That is how this blog came about in the first place so I guess it wasn't a half bad idea. I don't know why musicians always think they have to do it all themselves (ego under the breath) but many of us do. Which brings to mind a joke.Q: How many guitar players does it take to change a light bulb?A: Ten. One to change the light bulb and 9 to say "I can do that"This solo artist tendency has been made all the more common by the fact that we can actually do it now, what with very sophisticated recording gear and high quality virtual instruments available cheaply in our computers (which we happen to be sitting at 16 hours a day anyway).So all this talk and I am no closer to THE decision. But I have had some feedback from members of forums I belong to and where I have posed the question. So here is an announcement, a press release as it were. I will probably (well maybe, possibly) go with solo piano and solo piano with ambiance and/or minimal orchestration. Ok that is not a very compelling or definitive announcement but given that I could and probably will change my mind at a moment's notice the moment someone says to me "What G, are you crazy or something" or the big record company exec asks me to accompany the Jonas Brothers (I didn't even know who they were until I saw the ad for the movie on Fandango). Then all bets are off and I might record some of that Gangsta Rap I have been hiding from my friends (and my therapist). Irish White Gangsta or Guinness Rap. So put on those cool boxers that everyone can see and turn your hats sideways. DownTemp, ChillOut, New Age Gangsta, Neo-Classical, Spa music (shooting up the charts like a bullet)GTo listen for yourself check out my site
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We have so many great artists here at New Earth Records and we feature a different artist every month. This month's artist is Terry Oldfield. We are releasing some of Terry's classic albums, and three of these are available now along with a guided meditation.TERRY OLDFIELDTerry left school at 16 to travel the world and worked as a roadie for various bands including the Byrds. During an extended stay on the Greek island of Hydra, he took up his first musical instrument, the flute. "I think it was learning to play in this way, with no formal guidance, that allowed me to develop the ability to compose music. I spent many happy days improvising tunes and discovering scales and arpeggios for myself, and soon started to teach myself to write these things down". Terry's only formal music training was in Agra, India where he spent some time learning to play the Tabla.Terry's career began in earnest when he was asked by the BBC to compose music for scenes called Great Railway Journeys of the World. Since then Terry has composed music for over 50 film and TV productions, receiving two Emmy nominations. His work contains an enormous range of ideas and influences and has sold over 1 million units worldwide.Currently Terry is living in Australia with his wife and creative partner Soraya, and has been looking at new directions to take his music. "Recently I have found the advent of Global music very inspiring. Especially the Amnesty International Concerts." He and Soraya recently completed a concert tour in the United States, after releasing their album Mandala: Circle of Chant. The Terry Oldfield Classic Collection is now also available on New Earth Records.

Out of the Depths

In the Presence of Light

Mandala: Circle of Chant

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Key of G - Life of a Composer

This blog came about as a result of a discussion board on For those of you that don’t know Gaia it is a social network with a spiritual bent. It isn’t big but it is very, very supportative. In fact when I posted a discussion question there the leader of the group immediately sent out an email to pretty much everyone asking them to participate, welcome me to the club and give me feedback.The post I put out there was simply me as a composer, looking for feedback from potential listeners of my music. Feedback that I hoped would help guide me towards creating my next album of work. I haven’t put out an album in 9 years (fodder for another post) and I had a lot of material so I have been wrestling with what the album should be. Solo piano? Full orchestra? Electronic and ambient? Combine them all?The feedback was wonderful and has helped me enormously in crafting this next phase in my life as an artist.As I was reading the responses and commenting back it occured to me that it might be interesting to some exactly what a composer goes through when completing a work or combining that work into a CD. Of course, it may not be interesting at all but welcome to the Web where absolutely anything can be discussed and in great detail.So here is my first entry in “Key of G - Life of a Composer”. So let’s start out on a real positive note (pun intended). I imagine that people don’t realize how pedestrian and oftentimes tedious the life of a composer actually is. Ok if you happen to be Sting or Paul McCartney or John Williams or Danny Elfman the world is waiting anxiously for your next creation. But for the unknown soldiers of composition, the piece precedes the audience. Sometimes by decades.So, by the time something I compose has been heard by an audience (other than family and close friends) I have listend to it probably 1,000 times over a relatively short period of time. Now try listening to the same song that many times. I don’t care how much you love it or how classic it is or if it the theme song of you and the love of your life, you will beg to have it turned off if you hear even the first note. Such is the life of the composer. Well not all composers. Mozart wrote it the first time perfectly and that was that. Bach used to write his scores directly onto the copper plates to be printed. That was not my fate. I am one of those composers who edits more than he writes. Nor am I a gifter improvisor. So for me the first take is almost never the last. Actually you might say I never actually finish a piece I either run out of edit time or I get bored to death.So when is it finished? When it says so. The piece of music does have a life of its own. We musicians love to think of our work as our creation. I speak of my music. Ha! That is really the slave praising the master. I don’t know who makes who really. Or where it comes from (another blog). But there is a point when no more ideas come, no more corrections are made and nothing new pops into mind when listening to the piece. If that happens for a long enough period of time. I conclude that the piece is done, at least for now.So much for artistic vision.
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I recently had the pleasure and honor of being invited by Justin St. Vincent, the editor of the music webzine, to contribute to his online interview portfolio “The Spiritual Significance of Music”. Justin has obtained exclusive interviews with over one hundred authors and four hundred musicians in order to explore the relationship between music and spirituality. Through the thoughts, musings, and revelations of many of the world's most visionary artists and writers he examines the spirituality of all genres and styles of music, and provides a unique insight into how we understand and respond to music in the context of our post-modern world.Below is the link to the April 2009 update that includes my interview answering the question “What do you believe is the spiritual significance of music?”(currently posted in the World Edition) Text:THE SPIRITUAL SIGNIFICANCE OF MUSICI’ve always considered music to be the truest art form. Poetry & prose require understanding the language and the meaning of the words; painting and images at best reflect still life; movies and mixed media, while quite powerful, reflect the outer world and not the inner world; and all other forms of abstract art require interpretation – music is the only artistic human expression that is immediate, requires no interpretation, and encompasses our entire being - the truth of the vibrations are immediately understood and felt, physically, emotionally, spiritually, regardless of who you are, where you come from or what language you speak. Music can move the body to ecstasy, heal the heart of sadness or fill it with joy, illuminate the imagination and inspire the soul. When music inspires us we are literally “in spirit”, from Latin “to breathe into” – we are filled with the spirit of life!The reason is that music is rooted in the fundamental nature of reality. Science, specifically Quantum Physics, has revealed that all nature in the known universe is made up of vibration – sound, light, gravity, atomic energy, you name it - all energy and matter have particles that are in motion. And that’s just it – we’re in constant motion – not just the rhythm of our heartbeat, the rise and fall of our breath, the electrical impulses in our nervous system, but the very particles that make up our entire being are all swirling in unison. From the smallest atom in our body to the astronomically cosmic music of the spheres - all is spinning in perfect rhythm and harmony, simultaneously as one - As Above, So Below!Spirituality is the fundamental experience of our existence and the realization of the most profound miracle that is this precious life we all share, with one another and the entire universe. Anything that tunes us in to BEing present, to BEcoming aware, to BEcoming conscious of this reality - to feel through our entire body, mind and spirit as one - that we are alive and a part of something so much larger than ourselves and yet at one with it, is truly a spiritual experience. In my experience, the only things that engender this state of BEing are: silence in the stillness of deep meditation, feeling authentic true love in our heart and having that love reflected back while looking into the eyes of our beloved, and music – whether listening to it, dancing with it, playing it or sharing it together. All of these things turn us inward and reflect us back to our soul, the center of our being and source of our true nature. Music, like a tuning fork, vibrationally tunes us in, harmonizing our inner truth with outer experience.For me, music is a channel, and the question and challenge always is – how open, clear and true of a channel can I be to allow spirit to move through me? Beethoven, one of the greatest composers of all time, expressed that with music he bridged Heaven and Earth - this is the highest aspiration I can have when composing or performing music. My muse is my spiritual guide and bridges my Self with Spirit. I know this, music has kept me sane in what can sometimes be an insane world, and I am in firm agreement with Nietzsche when he said, “without music, life would be a mistake!”ValarienMarch 31,
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