Boomkat Product Review:
A proper art-melter; enchanting, original new age flute, piano and electronic compositions that will lull you into a blissed state and not let go for at least the length of its two hour, 10 min duration, but quite possibly for much longer. A total must have for fans of Maggi Payne or Iasos.
Flowering from studies at the esteemed Mills College with Robert Ashley and Terry Riley in the ‘70s, the breathtaking and little-known recordings in Hearing Music are testament to the lush, earthly beauty of Joanna Brooks’ privately issued new age tapes made between 1981 and 1985 in The Bay Area, west coast USA.
Channelling parallel strains of ambient and new age with a clear appreciation of classical minimalism, Joanna’s music is focussed on a spiritual essence yet it is mercifully shy of the sonic baggage that comes with new age’s more cloying facets. This statement from Joanna really says a lot about her music, too: “I realised that, in many instances, it didn’t matter what you said, it mattered how you said it: the tone of the voice, the rhythm, the sound… Because sound has an incredible effect on other people, it can make them dance, put them into trances, it can control emotions by a certain pitch, a certain depth.”
Taking this into account, Hearing Music cuts to the point, often working with only one or two elements in order to find their, and the player’s beauty thru a stark simplicity and evolving repetition found to be in harmony with the quartz-timed pace and elemental order of the natural world.
Not to get too personal about it, but the last time this pair of ears shook hands with C20H25N3O proper, it was heavily/heavenly soundtracked by the melting tones of Maggi Payne, nature sounds of Anne Guthrie and a handful of Iasos records, among others, all of whom make music very much in key with this album, which is bringing back the lushest flashbacks even though it’s the first time i’ve heard it. Sometimes you’ve gotta trust that vibe.