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Real Music Corporate LogoVisionary new age music for nourishing and rejuvenating body, mind and spirit

Falling Water Shimmering Strings

Falling Water Shimmering Strings by Chris Haugen

You can hear the sincere hippie in Haugen’s soul as this almost sounds like waves breaking in Malibu or Marin County.” —Midwest Record

It’s like someone swam far way to a beautiful lonely island.”
Six-year-old Fan

Passion for yoga and surfing inspired acclaimed guitarist Chris Haugen to express their influence in his latest album. Creativity abounds through a variety of guitars, Weissenborn, lap steel, and banjo combining to conjure flavors of India while Haugen’s countless hours with the ocean gently reveal some of surfing's allure. A unique and special recording for all whom the mysteries of sound and slow movement invite. Ideal for yoga, surfing and other meditative pursuits.

Watch the video for “Nautilus” from Falling Water Shimmering Strings


1. Nautilus 4:29
Average: 5 (1 vote)
2. Smooth As Glass 8:29
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3. Falling Water 15:24
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4. Spring 9:10
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5. Western Yogi 6:38
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6. Eternal Pipeline 12:11
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7. Reef 7:39
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Press Acclaim

Bill Binkelman

Chris Haugen, a real find for Real Music, plays an assortment of guitars, including Weissenborn and lap steel, as well as banjo (banjo? On a Real Music recording?), keyboards, and drum loops. Three other musicians are here as well: Ben Leinbach on bass guitar, Mark Degli Antoni on keys, and Hans Christian on sarangi, udu, and drones. Haugen has a passion for surfing (and yoga) and I can hear this influence in the languid, liquid-like nature of these seven songs. You might not believe that lap steel can yield relaxing sounds, but in Haugen's hands, it happens. The album is equally ambient as New Age.

Aron Radford

Let me start by stating for the record that Chris Haugen is an artist I think of in very high regard. He plays guitar, lap steel and most importantly to all us here the Weissenborn, and more to the point still, he plays it with a sublime deft touch that borders on genius level.

The man is a proverbial walking cinematic soundscape instrumentalist machine. This release is fundamentally an hours’ worth of the most relaxing, Zen enhancing slide soundscapes you're ever likely to hear. Keep it simple, keep it clean and let the sustain do the talking. Simple is one of THE hardest things to get right. To pick that single note and to hold it perfectly for just the length of time before you blend another perfect note into it is a skill not many people can pull off to this high exacting level. 

The use of dreamy synthetic drones and swirly synthesized soundscapes in the background are the perfect canvas for Chris to fluidly improvise over the top. In doing so he seemingly drifts away into an almost Zen-like trance. As a keen practitioner of yoga he understands how to relax and 'let go' I guess and these tunes echo this laid back lifestyle that he leads living by the Californian Gold Coast. With a pedigree in professional cinematic compositions, soundtrack collaborations and the creator of a previous yoga style release “Music For Yoga” back in 2013, this release is honed to perfection to create maxim relaxation and calm positive vibes. You can’t help feeling relaxed and chilled out as you hear these beautiful compositions played out in your head as you imagine vivid distant landscapes.

Technically this isn't an album but a long playing EP, and contains seven tracks ranging from shorter 4:30 passages to over 15 minute opuses. There is an alluring cohesive fluid nature to the running order but each track still maintains its own individual ident. But it has to be said there is a strong Indian influence present though all proceedings through the use of Indian tabla drums and sitar shimmer guitar FX that gets stronger the further you get into the CD. 

Breaking the tracks down in a little more detail we start off with “Nautilus” which is very much in the vain of his amazing 2008 lap steel release Seahorse Rodeo. So much so that if I were a betting man I would guess it was a distant leftover from the same sessions. But either way, what I’m trying to say is its pretty damn good stuff right from the off and bang on the cinematic Zen theme. “Smooth As Glass” has a gentle oceanic ebb and flow to its demeanor. The waves of drones and melodic starkness conjure up delightful soothing visions of idyllic remote beaches far, far away, pure bliss filled sonic creativity.

“Falling Water” is a monster track coming in at over a whopping 15 minutes! Layered reverberating drones and staccato plucking bordering on delta blues in places create a deep brooding undercurrent that gives the track a darker, more forbidding edge to proceedings. “Spring” has a hazy mellow Indian style vibe with its use of tabla drums and a sitar shimmer effect on the sliding passages.

“Western Yogi” has, to my own personal annoyance, a banjo on it which adds variety, I guess, to proceedings but actually jolts you out of the Zen trance you had been comfortably enjoying.  The track continues the Indian theme with droning sitar sympathetic strings echoing the banjo passages, tastefully done, of course, but it doesn’t sit right with the rest of the tracks in my opinion.  

“Eternal Pipeline” has the first resemblance to a recurring melody within.  Up to now it has all been tasteful randomness, but the refrain here is delightful and very much welcomed each time it comes back around in the track.

The last track “Reef” is a pure slide reverie. With a drop of desolate delta blues and summertime acoustic guitar and Weissenborn refrains, the track dances in and out of a tasteful pitch bending drone soundscape. The combination of these three elements is unusual and very pleasing on the ears, so much so that I think it’s my favorite track on the CD.

This release doesn't break any boundaries or frontiers musically speaking, but that's NOT what this cd is all about.  It's about doing the simple things with a pristine clean cut technique that in its self is its unique selling point. Chris operates on a level most of us can only dream about attaining, these tranquil outpourings are tasteful, professional and a down right dream for any lap steel fan. 

Paul Liberatore

Chris Haugen makes his debut on Sausalito’s Real Music label with Falling Water Shimmering Strings, a collection of seven original instrumentals billed as ideal “for yoga, meditation or even surfing.”

A multi-instrumentalist, Haugen performs primarily on a Weissenborn, a kind of lap slide guitar that gives this album a woody, acoustic resonance. He also colors these new agey tracks with acoustic guitar, lap steel, keyboards and drum loops.

He switches to banjo on “Western Yogi,” a track with Indian classical influences that also features Hans Christian on sarangi, a short-necked Indian string instrument; udu, a Nigerian percussion instrument made of clay, and an Indian dhilruba drone.

Ben Leinbach adds bass guitar and ambient sounds to “Reef,” an ethereal track that closes the album. And Mark Degli Antoni plays keys on three dreamy tracks, including “Falling Water,” a moody piece that rises and falls in tides of sound.

Haugen’s music has been used on film scores, including Sean Penn’s Into the Wild, and all of the tracks on this album, his fourth, have an imaginative, cinematic quality.

Raised in Eugene, Oregon, Haugen is now a Northern California surfer, in addition to being a musician, hence the oceanic tang of many of his compositions.

Kathy Parsons

Falling Water Shimmering Strings is the fourth release from guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Chris Haugen and his first album on the Real Music label. He has toured and performed extensively as a sideman and has also worked on a number of film scores. Haugen’s passion for surfing and yoga inspired the music on this album, which consists of seven original tracks that vary in length from about 4 1/2 minutes to a bit over 15 minutes, allowing time for the music to evolve and go where it wants. Haugen performs on Weissenborn guitar (a brand of lap slide guitar), acoustic guitar, lap steel, keys, ambient sounds and drum loops. Ben Leinbach, Mark Degli Antoni, and Hans Christian appear on one or two tracks each (more details below). The music itself is very quiet, soothing and easy to let slip into the background to create a warm atmosphere and a relaxing mood. Real Music’s site lists the album as “Music for: Meditation and Introspection, Yoga and Fitness.”  There is a very strong Indian influence running through much of the music, which is called “ideal for yoga, surfing and other meditative pursuits.” Surfing?  Anyway, the music is spare and peaceful, with lots of open space between many of the notes.
Falling Water Shimmering Strings begins with “Nautilus,” a gorgeous piece played mostly on steel guitar along with keys and ambient sounds by Mark Degli Antoni. “Smooth as Glass” is just Haugen.  This 12+ minute piece has its roots in Indian music and I would have guessed that one of the instruments played was the sitar, but that isn’t an instrument that’s listed. I’m guessing that it must be one of the steel guitars. “Falling Water” is the 15-minute track and also features Mark Degli Antoni on keys and ambient sounds. A bit darker and moodier than the other tracks, this piece clearly demonstrates why Haugen’s music is used in films. It really creates a mood and atmosphere with as almost as much use of open space as with notes and sounds — uncluttered and very effective.  “Spring” is also quite different from the other tracks, with a mesmerizing drum beat and hypnotic ambient sounds behind the acoustic guitar, which is almost incidental to the piece. I really like this one! “Western Yogi” features Hans Christian on sarangi, dhilruba drone, keyboard drone and udu in addition to Haugen’s guitars. Quietly rhythmic and somewhat mysterious, it presents an East meets West musical experience. “Eternal Pipeline” suggests the gentle ebb and flow of ocean waves at their calmest, with soft drumming and pedal steel. “Reef” closes the album with a magical guitar piece that washes over you like warm waves of tropical ocean water — soothing, healing and very relaxing.
If you are looking for some music for yoga, meditation, or even surfing, be sure to check this one out!

One of my favorites in a long time, Haugen’s Falling Water Shimmering Strings is a beautiful and unexpected surprise! Meditative, calming and vibrant, it offers an atmospheric background illuminated with delicate percussion and warm strings from both East and West.
The flavor of India peppers Haugen's masterful acoustic instrumentation, including guitar, lap steel and banjo. The artist’s love for the ocean, surfing, yoga and meditative pursuits especially comes through and carries us along on soft waves of sound.

Steve Sheppard

I have now listened to this album several times and it just keeps getting better and better. It has a beautiful layered feeling about it and one word I would be more than happy to attach to it as a label is, serene!
Chris Haugen has created something here that I can further describe as almost timeless; the opening piece is a fine example of this almost meditative slice of ambience called “Nautilus,” the perfect contemplative starting point of a truly excellent release.
Two long form compositions of twelve and fifteen minutes plus follow, and the track “Smooth as Glass” is such an apt title for such a beautifully mellow song, there is something about Deuter in the work on this arrangement, it almost seems to just float and hover all around you. “Falling Water” has a slightly deeper sense and motif behind its construction, but equally graphic in its manifestation of beauty and peace, the gentle but deep and purposeful resonance in this arrangement is utterly sublime.
We now flow with a nicely played and performed song called “Spring,” one of my favorite times of the year. Again a delightfully long piece at just less than ten minutes, but in that time Haugen has added a level of percussive cleverness into the weave of this arrangement, but has always stuck to the overall narrative of blissful peace.
On “Western Yogi” we are treated to a sensual movement of flow and energy in a subtle piece where East meets West, the percussion adds depth, but the instrumentation of Eastern origins really creates a backdrop of musical flavor that will be globally appreciated.
“Eternal Pipeline” is our penultimate track and another fine example of the slow and easy style that Haugen has created for us to revel in. I could listen to this piece for hours and still want more; the guitars and very subtle percussion are dreamlike and blissful to the senses.
The closing composition is called “Reef” and if it’s possible, Haugen has manifested something here that almost seems to create its own time frame; the guitar here is a summer-filled offering of long warm days ahead, harmonious and incredibly charming to listen to.
Falling Water, Shimmering Strings just has to be one of the most chilled out and laid back albums I have listened to for absolutely ages, and Chris Haugen must be a man who is in total harmony with his musical soul, in his ability to create such a marvelous work of timeless musical ecstasy. Falling Water, Shimmering Strings emphasizes the sheer quality of artists and music upon the Real Music record label, absolutely recommended.

Chris Spector

While yoga and surfing inspired this new age guitar man, his playing reminds me of instrumental work from Richard Thompson in his Sufi period. It was smoking stuff then and this new side to it is smoking now. You can hear the sincere hippie in Haugen’s soul as this almost sounds like waves breaking in Malibu or Marin County. High minded, sitting down guitar music without an egghead edge, this is great stuff for people looking for a much needed audio getaway. Well done.