Over an hour of the most deeply relaxing music on the planet, selected to introduce listeners to the best-selling Liquid Mind Series. Ideal for stress relief, falling asleep and meditative and therapeutic practices. Relax reached #8 on Billboard magazine’s Top Ten New Age Chart and was listed for 71 consecutive weeks.
Relax: A Liquid Mind Experience
|1. Teach Me to Whisper 7:01|
|2. Serenity 10:06|
|3. Touching Calm 7:44|
|4. Awakening 12:06|
|5. Reflection 8:18|
|6. I am Willing 7:55|
|7. Take Me Tenderly 6:47|
|8. Lullaby for Grownups 5:19|
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've always enjoyed the Liquid Mind albums, they are great for providing backdrop when you're reading or relaxing because they are very non-obtrusive and incredibly serene. This album features some highlights from his last eight albums. When it comes to relaxing ambient music, few composers come close to the light, emotive sound of Chuck Wild and his "Liquid Mind" series. The music is not only incredibly soothing, but light as air, wrapping the listener in a blanket of flowing synthesizer and keyboard tones. Relax brings together some of Wild's most gorgeous Liquid Mind selections from his past eight albums in one recording, including ”Touching Calm“ from his Sleep album and “Awakening” from Serenity. Though coming from different albums, the music blends well from one track to the next providing over an hour of pure, relaxing atmosphere music. Also included on the album is one new cut – “I Am Willing’.”
It’s been a while since the last Chuck Wild visit, so that must make it time for a quasi greatest hits refresher. With a new track added to the mix, this retrospective really highlights the introspective series that comes with a warning that you shouldn't operate heavy machinery while listening to this. A well textured ”spiritual“/introspective collection, it's nice to be reminded this stuff is out there.
At their essence, Liquid Mind recordings are slo-mo electronic symphonies created for frantic souls who yearn to take a mental float trip across their own private Sea of Tranquility. Credit these restful, unhurried soundscapes to Chuck Wild, once the keyboardist for Missing Persons, the inventive, short-lived 1980s new wave act that also included future instrumental auteurs Patrick O’Hearn (bass) and Terry Bozzio (drums). Relax is a 65-minute compilation of works from six of Wild’s previous recordings (plus one unreleased track, “I Am Willing”) and, for the uninitiated, stands as an inviting introduction to his languid, affecting sound designs. Wild explains in his liner notes that the Liquid Mind series was spawned when he made the decision to rely on music, not pharmaceuticals, to calm his own work-intensive, overtaxed psyche. Beyond the music's therapeutic subtext, a faint melodic thread weaves through Wild's spacey compositions to provide just enough structure, as demonstrated in the inviting sonic afterglow generated by “Teach Me to Whisper” and “Reflection,” that makes his music appealing to more than just the stressed-out or sleep-deprived. Wild is not the first to travel this ethereal path, and some may find his approach a touch one-dimensional for their tastes. But for any urbanite seeking dependable bliss-out music that avoids side trips into mysterious or experimental realms, Relax is a worthwhile starter disc.
Chuck Wild is Liquid Mind. He has released eight CD’s of the most euphoric atmospheres im-aginable. Relax: A Liquid Mind Experience is a collection of compositions from his library and one new composition — “I Am Willing”. There are not enough superlatives in the English language to describe this CD! It is, quite simply, one of the best CD’s of this genré, style or format. It is a deeply personal experience. (As regular readers are aware, I step out of my normal reviewing mode and address CD’s of this nature in the first person. This CD takes me in several directions. My first inclination within this encounter was to ponder the CD title — at least the second part — A Liquid Mind Experience. At first glance, this would seem to refer to Chuck’s alias. Upon deeper visitation, the title took on new meaning. It refers to the state of my mind upon deep reflection and meditation. I allowed the music to take its toll and liquefy my mind. I embraced the essence of the narcotics of Chuck’s sound design and reveled in the serenity of the numbness of a liquid mind.
I swayed gently to the symphonic airs and vivid auras. I was awash in bright colors — blues, greens, yellows, silvers and — yes — blacks. (Bright black is a state of mind bordering on the surreal.) The vivid hues slowly evolved into pastels and flowed serenely around my inner being and soul. The music continued to direct the journey and I became aware of several possibilities. I recall my days of use and despair as I tried to find higher planes through the use of chemicals. I find it ironic that I was looking for myself. Today, I am able to be myself and get to those higher planes by getting out of my own way. It seems too simple but in those moments of serenity, I am at peace and I am cavorting with angels and in conscious contact with my higher power — God. It is bliss in its purest form. It is love. It is peace. It is joy. It comes only when I surrender.)
The journey — for practical purposes only — has to end. Life happens and participation is mandatory. This CD is one of the best rest stops on the highway of life. It has no limits to its possibilities.