This fourth in Liquid Mind's elegant series of slow relaxation music albums takes the listener to a place of deep calm and tranquility. The music is designed to help you relax deeply — during meditation, massage, yoga, rest or in times of stress. The absence of regular rhythm in the music allows a level of relaxation not achievable by more active music.
Liquid Mind IV: Unity
As a general rule, I believe that meditation or contemplative prayer are best practiced in silence — which means no TV blaring in the background, no MP3 player churning out sound, no computer or stereo making noise within earshot. Even using a so-called white noise machine is, to me, at best a necessary evil: perhaps required to mask the normal distracting sounds of children playing or whatever else might be happening in an adjacent room or apartment: but far less desirable than the pure absence (or near absence) of aural stimulation that only silence embodies.
So with that in mind, perhaps it is a bit ironic that in this post I am going to praise an album of ambient music called Meditation. But I am not recommending this album for use while you are meditating. Rather, this is perfect music for the other 15 or so hours that you are awake each day. This most recent offering from the ambient music maestro Chuck Wild (who records under the name “Liquid Mind”) is one of the loveliest recordings of deeply introspective, truly relaxing, and — most important of all — serenely beautiful music that I’ve come across in quite a while.
But first, a disclaimer: I’ve been a fan of Liquid Mind for over a decade now. I first encountered Chuck Wild’s unique ability to create truly expansive and profoundly peaceful music when I was working for a music distributor. In my position there as a new age music buyer, I listened to ambient music all day long — and yes, much of it lives up to its stereotype of being bland, boring, and self-indulgent. If the stereotypes point to how forgettable most new age music is, they also indicate how difficult it is for musicians to create truly good, artistic, and distinctive ambient recordings. Over the years I’ve collected maybe a handful of ambient albums that bear repeated listening: Brian Eno’s Music for Airports, Laraaji’s Day of Radiance, or Bruce & Brian Becvar’s The Magic of Healing Music. These are all albums that live up to Eno’s definition of creative ambient music: music that is “able to accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular.”
Liquid Mind’s music belongs on any select list of must-have ambient albums — and while I think the newest album is arguably the best, the entire Liquid Mind catalogue is worth exploring. Among the previous Liquid Mind albums, I particularly love Unity, and Spirit — in fact, the track “Through My Eyes” from Liquid Mind VI: Spirit was used in several videos featuring me.
But today I want to focus on Liquid Mind X: Meditation. Comprising six tracks with a combined length of just over an hour, this musical suite can be the perfect soundtrack for massage, reading, quiet conversation, or mealtime. But I think what separates out truly creative ambient music from run-of-the-mill new age recordings is that it makes an authentic musical statement, far more than just functioning as a kind of soothing soundtrack for busy lives. This is certainly the case for Liquid Mind X: Meditation. This album speaks of spaciousness, openness, and letting go. The first track, “In Fields of Peace,” creates a soundscape of unhurried presence, with a gradual unfolding of atmospheric chords, its cadence slower than the rhythm of deep, relaxed breathing. This leads into the title track, beginning with a sonic texture reminiscent of Tibetan chanting before opening into a calm melody that evokes the openness of a mind lulled into silence by a deep contemplative experience. “In the Silence of My Soul” and “When Time Slows” continue this sonic journey. The third track evokes a sense of transcendence, while the fourth simply seems to deepen the overall sense of unhurried presence. “Soft Focus,” perhaps the most subtly dynamic of the six tracks, reminds me of the whispering cognitive activity that lurks at the heart of even the most deeply relaxing meditative experience. The album closes with “The Joy of Quiet,” a coda to the suite that echoes the opening track with a slightly more invigorating melody: the meditation is ending, leaving one refreshed and ready to engage with the hustle and bustle of life.
Writing about ambient music is probably the next hardest thing to actually creating it well, and so I am conscious that my words really do not begin to capture the sense of wide-open loveliness that this music embodies. So I’d encourage you to check it out for yourself.
I listened to Liquid Mind IV, Unity for the first time on a drive up I-95 to Washington D.C. Within the first 30 seconds of the first track, the tension in my shoulders involuntarily relaxed and let go. I had forgotten how good the music of Chuck Wild and his Liquid Mind series really is.
No matter what the song title is, from the opening note to the final fade, this majestic music gently lifts us up from our daily world to carry us on a cosmic journey across vast reaches of timeless space. Complex, layered harmonies caress the body to release forgotten tensions and soothe old hurts of the heart into forgiveness. Unity somehow seems to be even more spiritually inspired than previous Liquid Mind CD albums. It reminds us of our connection to the Source that is always just beneath the surface of our ongoing mental chatter.
For me, Liquid Mind IV, Unity is the best of the best of new age innerspace music. If you’re only going to buy one CD album this year for balancing, healing and nurturing yourself... this is it.
Liquid Mind is the work of an artist named Chuck Wild, and is one of our most recommended massage music titles. He continues to carve out extremely warm space music, adding more emphasis on the compositional aspect to accompany the deep pool of relaxation he creates. Unity is the 4th from Chuck's Liquid Mind studios, and you will hear relatively shorter tracks than on his earlier releases, although they still average 9-10 minutes each. This music plays beautifully in the background for group settings, or counseling work, yet it takes on new dimensions at higher volumes with focused listening.
Chuck Wild's Liquid Mind series should be required listening at rehabilitation centers, mental health facilities, and anywhere that cooler heads are required. (It might even work in the U.S. Congress.) Many listeners and readers might remember that a hospital in England used to play one of Brian Eno's albums in its delivery rooms; the music apparently had a calming effect on the expectant mothers and fathers. Liquid Mind IV: Unity is more of the same — thank goodness — from Wild. These deep psychoactive atmospheres are calm and gentle respites from the highways and byways of life. Deep listeners will find themselves approaching the fetal position as they curl up and relax. Wild's sound design is in top form. These soundscapes and atmospheres are vast and deep. This symphonic new age CD is a wonder. It will appeal to fans of Constance Demby, Kip Mazuy, James Johnson, and Sean Washburn. It is a classic.
As with Chuck's earlier releases in this series, Unity is almost totally devoid of structure or melodic sensibility in a traditional Western sense (hence it's utter appropriateness for meditation or possibly massage) It is infused with Wilds' mystical electronic imagination. In a way, it could also be characterized as space music. Take the second song, “From the Silence,” for example. The lush arrangements combine traditional forms and modern elements to invoke a mood of mystical introspection. You will find the tracks to be relatively shorter than on his earlier releases, although they still average 9-10 minutes each. It is deep, warm atmospheric music.
Chuck Wild uses lush synth and sampled textures to paint a mesmerizing sonic landscape. Unity uncovers unique astral wonders and earthly spirituality that the endows the music with a unique organic unforced rhythm, which is accomplished through the almost breath-like rising and falling of the drone tones and washes of sound. This release should be of great interest to Chuck Wild's many fans as well as those exploring ambient music. Playing this in the background is very therapuedic, driving out conscious thoughts that clutter the mind and drawing the listener in deep to follow their own visionary imaginings. Wild is a great keyboard talent and this recording should be in your collection if you enjoy rich and emotionally deep electronic music that blends melodic appeal with space music and ambient sensibilities. This remarkable recording easily earns, deservedly, my highest recommendation.