THIS AL­BUM CHANGED MY LIFE ALICE COLTRANE – ‘JOUR­NEY IN SATCHIDANANDA’ (1971)

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - THETAKE CRITICS’ CHOICE - Vive la Void’s epony­mous de­but al­bu­mandMoonDuo’s Oc­cult Ar­chi­tec­ture are out now

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

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