Modern Meditations series (Rock classics, Beatles Songs, Modern classics)
Paradise Music Ltd. (2009) various lengths, approx one hour each
Review by Kate Russell
Do you have a problem with pan flutes or wind chimes? Does the vast majority of meditation music makes your ears bleed and send you running for the hills? Do you wish that meditation music would get with the times and sound a bit more like your favourite rock songs?
If all or any of the above apply to you, then you might want to check out Modern Meditations’ series of CDs.
Printed on 100% recycled fiber (eco-consciously chic) each album cover promises “meditation music for the rock & roll generation – no pan flutes or wind chimes allowed”. There are four different CDs to choose from: Beatles songs, U2 songs, rock classics (including Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd) and modern classics (including Radiohead and Coldplay). For more information on each CD and the track listings, please check out: www.modernmeditations.com.
Making covers of rock songs to fit a specific theme is not a totally new idea. If you have a baby in your family, you’ll no doubt be somewhat familiar with similar concept introduced by the Rockabye Baby! series of CDs that were introduced to the market in 2006. To those of you not familiar with these CDs, they covered well known rock songs in lullaby style as an alternative to the general saccharine fare of baby music CDs. Still, whilst not entirely an original concept, Modern Meditations’ cover versions of well loved music are the most exciting and three dimensional sounding project of this type I’ve heard so far.
Still, Modern Meditations takes a risk with this kind of music. One is that fans of a band may object to a less than ‘true’ version of the original well-loved song. Another is that the listener may like the music so much that they might be inclined to sing along, making the possibility of meditation a bit more challenging. This is the advantage of generic pan pipe or wind chime meditation originals, one supposes; their abstract and generally lyric-less arrangements are easy to get lost in; there are no particular associations with the songs, or lyrics to sing along with.
If somehow you do have the burning desire to combine your favourite tunes with practising meditation, you’ll no doubt enjoy these albums.
And of course, you don’t have to meditate to these songs at all. The musicianship on the albums is excellent: the laid back guitar and accompanying instrumentation are well laid out, and have a funky late night sound that is part Carlos Santana, part Eric Clapton. No kidding about the “shimmering electric guitars and warm percussion” – the effect of the music is sensual, warm and exciting.
Each album has twelve tracks, and you can guarantee to hear a lot of favourites in the selections picked for each one. Each approximately hour long album will provide a dreamy accompaniment to pilates, yoga or creative projects – though as stated previously – I’m still not totally convinced on the meditative aspect.
The Beatles album is my personal favourite. The cover of ‘Across the Universe’ is goosebump inducing.
Kate Russell is a singer/songwriter and busker from Vancouver, up until recently performing under the stage name Jadis Gloom (www.myspace.com/jadisgloom). Currently she is taking some time out from her solo music projects to write, listen to other styles of music and gain inspiration from other artists and their own creative journeys. Believing that to look into someone’s art is also to look inside their soul, she enjoys the intimate opportunities for understanding others in new ways that being a music critic provides.