THIS ALBUM CHANGED MY LIFE ALICE COLTRANE – ‘JOURNEY IN SATCHIDANANDA’ (1971)
SanaeY am ada of Vi vela Void andMoonDuo
I don’t remember the first time I heard this record. It seemed to just ignite in my consciousness where it hadn’t been before. I was a teacher at the time, living in San Francisco, and was very focused on writing fiction. My life was on the cusp of a massive transition, a total change of axis from literature to music.
When I look back from here it seems so clear – how the things I wanted to express needed music as a medium – but at the time I was confused and searching. This album seemed to burn through the fog like a signal fire. It sounds cliché to say I didn’t know music could do this, but in my case, it is also true.
Listening to Journey In Satchidananda gives me a sensation that is closest in texture to that of looking at the ocean or staring into the structure of a leaf – that opening of a doorway on to something vast and boundless. The instruments weave together and apart in a balance of chaos and harmony that feels so elemental, so natural: droning tambura, cascading harp, pulsating piano and wandering sax among flutters and rustling of percussion and drums.
And the negative space – the negative space here is extraordinary. It’s like a depiction of infinity by way of absence. This record makes me feel like I am brushing up against the mystery; it continually fuels my desire to make music by showing me, again and again, what kind of power music can harness. NIALL BYRNE