Meditative Music 3 – Synth Tones that Heal

Pulse Emitter - Meditative Music 3

A few weeks back I was completely surprised by a little package I received in the mail.  Upon opening the gift, I cracked a smile- followed by a few cuss words (this dude is kicking my ass).  It was another Pulse Emitter new age disc: Meditative Music 3.  If releasing current new age music was a competition, then Daryl is the champion.  Take the packaging for instance: the pastel-tinted nature photos, the CD case itself, the one-line description on each disc… it all lends itself so perfectly to being something you’d find at a yoga studio’s gift shop.  On top of that, these discs are totally self-released and the music is comprised of minimal synth tones that truly have healing qualities.  These CDs are totally legit.

Meditative Music 3 couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.  I’m totally excited about this series, but since I had reviewed the other installments (see this post) a few months back, I felt like I needed a new approach to writing about this one.  The stars must have been aligned because I injured my back and decided to make an appointment with a massage therapist.  This provided me with the perfect opportunity to give this music the kind of listening it deserves.  The masseuse was super cool and allowed me to play the disc in her boom box after reading the one-line description on the back of the case: placid waves for reflective times.

A slow fade from silence gives way to the rising tones that transform your consciousness into a dense underwater cloud of plankton.  Families of micro-organisms lie static and hovering just beneath the surface.  They harness the power of the sun, soaking up the solar energy, contributing to the natural cycle of life.  Dense analog vibrations are contrasted by crisp, digital metallics.  These bell-like FM synthesis tones encapsulate the piece in crystals.  “Does this feel tender?”  Those were the words that brought me back from my oceanic dreamworld, and they really couldn’t have been better put.

Clocking in at exactly 60 minutes, this is the perfect music for massage.  It was so perfect in fact, that the masseuse inquired about how she might purchase a copy of it.  You can buy them from him directly here: synthnoise.com or from Tomentosa.  If you are a fan of synth music, of new age or of anything P.E.-related… all three of these CDs are highly recommended.

In Portland on Thursday, April 30th, I highly recommend checking out Pulse Emitter perform at Dunes.  Brother Raven will be one of the opening acts, alongside Weird Fiction (live video), Sean Ongley & Regosphere.

Meditating Eternity: The New Age CDs of Pulse Emitter

Meditative Music 1 & 2

Up until a couple weeks ago, I had only heard a few tracks by fellow NW-based experimental musician Pulse Emitter, but that was reason enough for us to send him our first gift (GT000).   Daryl Groetsch of Pulse Emitter generously mailed us both of his Meditative Music releases.  I haven’t reviewed anything on a digital format yet, but these leave me no choice.  This is my attempt to explain how insanely great these discs are…

Meditative Music 1 is a minimalist piece where flowing breezes of analog modular synth  are contrasted by slow moving waves of FM synthesis, rising and falling over glorious peaks of quiet mountainsides.  The patches are meticulously programmed and detailed in complexity, yet the music sounds as though a new form of plant life has emerged from the earth.  Natural and easing mellow vibrations paint an environment that serves as an escape from the chaos of our man made surroundings.  Its gentle and contemplative tones are steeped in sleepiness, rich with a resting thickness; this is hypnotic levitation at its best.

Daryl sent me a copy of something he posted on a forum about the first disc:

“while helping my girlfriend select ambient music to use while giving massages, i became interested in all the factors that ruled out certain releases. too ominous, too rhythmic, too schmaltzy… so i decided to record one myself. it’s one track, 60 minutes long. two oscillators on the analog modular tuned in fifths, slowly sweeping back and forth with the filter and across the stereo field in a repetitive yet unpredictable way, continuous warm shifting drone. then a slow four note motive is played in four permutations on a custom patched yamaha TX81Z FM synth, crystal pools of sound. yeah, it’s peaceful ambient music but it’s not overly positive or negative, very balanced in emotion and structure. good for sleeping, thinking, bathing, whatever. it’s not noise music but i’m posting it here anyway… it would probably be good to listen to after a noise show actually.”

Meditative Music 2 opens in windstorm, the listener tucked away in a shallow cave at the base of a ravine.  Heavy raindrops fall from the evergreens onto the  crumbling stone above.  The swift breeze rises and falls, giving way to brief glimpses of the sound of a passing stream.  On occasion a carefully woven synthesized melody will remind the listener that they are in fact listening to music.  These sounds have the affect of transforming humans into creatures of the woods, like an elk’s lone stray from the rest of the herd.

The sounds of the second disc are so natural sounding that I had to ask him if there were field recordings involved…  this was his answer:

“there are no field recordings, all synth. the second disc was inspired by a hike in the woods, listening to a stream.”

It makes me happy that Pulse Emitter is Portland-based.  You can find out more on his website: synthnoise.com.  Another thing I should mention that might interest any DIY Synthers… Daryl Groetsch has a degree in Electrical Engineering and he’s got a few schematics of things he’s designed on his website.  I also recommend taking a look at the picture of his crazy synth. And, if you’re in NYC in mid-May, be sure to check out his set at NO FUN.