Arrive Without Leaving, a new collaboration between Laraaji, Arji OceAnada and Dallas Acid introduces us to a refreshing sound that combines Laraaji’s unmistakable sound of the Electrified Zither along with Dallas Acid’s airy and inspiring sound of synthesis, all glued together by the percussive sounds of Arji OceAnada. With all the ‘ambient/new-age’ music coming out at this time, this is a stand out to me – something more personal.
Arrive Without Leaving carries you into a meditative state throughout the whole composition, with each instrument guiding you through the spiritual realm; where synthesizers swirl in and out, fizz to and throe and generate a new air to breathe, where the Electrified Zither creates a hypnotising zig-zagging path, accented by delicate percussion in the form of: hand chimes, steel tongue drum, and gongs; ultimately leaving you in a trance. It is strongly advised to experience the whole recording in one sitting, as in my opinion it was created as a single piece broken in to movements, and this is evident in the reprisal of This Much Now appearing again in the final movement This Much More, building on the similar themes. In essence it encourages you to practice a blissful and meditative mind set; so allow this to be for just 35 minutes and 54 seconds of your day.
Laraaji (born. Edward Larry Gordon) has had a long and respected history in the spiritual sphere of music composition. Beginning with his influence in gospel at home and at Baptist Church gatherings – these would give influence to the inspiring tones he would come to create. His musical output begun as street performance in New York City in Washington Square Park through the late 70’s with his altered Zither with was swapped for a Guitar in a local pawn shop. Through donating music to a local psychic book store in Harlem, Laraaji’s name would be revealed to him. People would ask for the recordings during the street performances, which at the time home tape recording was becoming financially available. Recording compositions in the living room of friends’ Laraaji would begin selling tapes to the passers by. These tapes would later become available via Stones Throw Records as a package to pay tribute to this period, these would remain in tape form.
During these street performances, Laraaji grabbed the attention of none other than Brian Eno; leaving a folded note amongst the change – inviting Laraaji to contribute to a series of recordings that would be called ‘Ambient 3: Day of Radiance’ all recorded in a classic Brian Eno style of production that allows the musician(s) to open up whilst Eno adds subtle touches to enhance the recording.
Laraaji has not only had a successful string of revered recordings in this domain, but also practices and teaches laughter meditation – a practice that removes a person from the banal and seriousness of life, giving the participant a chance slow down and conduct a more present state of being. This is a broad overview, as the meditation looks at a range of disciplines that are prescribed to best help you – but I will leave this to experts. But this is a key element to understanding the composition work of Laraaji and how meditation is the essential guide to the music.
A short documentary by: All Saints Records
Arji OceAnada is a long-time collaborator alongside Laraaji; often adding the percussive elements of the tracks – as well as being a part of the laughter meditation sessions. You can indulge yourself in an hour of both of her and Laraaji’s performance below from 2017.
Dallas Acid – a three piece from Austin, TX. With an exploratory focus on synthesis and composition they have performed in unconventional spaces including: flotation tanks, planetariums and projection cubes.
Their most recent independent release on Flying Moonlight, who released Arrive Without Leaving, also release the work of Dallas Acid – including their most recent release – Spa Hunter. Spa Hunter adopts a more experimental tone than Arrive Without Leaving, experimenting with specific sounds alongside the occasional haunting vocals of Linda Beecroft.
D.A’s primary synthesizer – The Brain, has been a work of continuous expansion, diving into new territories of undeveloped sounds. It is never completed, but constantly added to, with a whole range of preexisting and recently developed gear being discovered, this gives endless possibilities in helping to reshaping the sound. Getting used to such a grand synthesizer requires practice in understanding the process and what is achievable; this has led to a mass of unreleased material that has been penned for release soon.
D.A have embraced an enigmatic state, by conducting very few interviews and tastefully selected live performances that would fit their approach to output of composition.
Inspired by the sounds of Film Composition of the 1960’s and emerging Berlin-School sounds of the 1970s, we will see these hopefully collide on their future releases. Dallas Acid have also conducted live a rendition of the Nosferatu Score, which was performed in 2016 – I hope to see this appear soon.
The Brain – Dallas Acid