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.