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Gino Foti | Mystic Gleams

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New Age: Ethnic Fusion New Age: Meditation Moods: Spiritual
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Mystic Gleams

by Gino Foti

A musical journey through the mystical, esoteric paths of the world's six largest religions, exploring their common belief of the Universe as sound. Fourth in a series of ethnic fusion, meditation, and spiritual concept albums featuring MIDI bass guitar.
Genre: New Age: Ethnic Fusion
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. In the Sunlight of Awareness
7:57 $0.99
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2. A Dark Night of the Soul
11:38 $0.99
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3. I Drift Like a Wave on the Ocean
11:44 $0.99
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4. Stigmatum S. Francisci
8:00 $0.99
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5. A Garland of Severed Heads
11:32 $0.99
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6. Sha'are Orah
11:38 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Overview:

"To discover the light and power latent within all human beings, that is the secret of all religion, the power of mysticism, and the essence of philosophy, without interfering with customs or belief. This is not the time to advance any particular sect, church, or belief. We have too many sects. They are only outer forms. The things that really matter are deeper."

"Some day music will be the means of expressing universal religion. Time is wanted for this, but there will come a day when music and its philosophy will become the religion of humanity." ~ Hazrat Inayat Khan

This album is a musical journey through the mystical, esoteric paths of the world's largest religions: Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Taoism.

Although their individual doctrines, rites, and rituals mostly contradict one another in exoteric forms, there is a universal spirituality that transcends beyond all their differences, even crossing over the "great divide" of the Abrahamic & Dharmic traditions.

The Universe as sound, or the role of sound in creation, is common to every religion and mythology in recorded history, and all their mystic branches agree that Gnosis, or Ultimate Reality, whether called: Aum, Ein Sof, God, Logos, Music of the Spheres, Nada Brahma, Saut-e Sarmad, Shabda Brahman, or Tao, cannot be expressed solely in words.

This single, perennial philosophy of one sound divided, or multiplied, into an almost infinite number of frequencies, or tones, generating complex geometric patterns that contain the order and structure necessary to create Nature - and the science behind it - can be understood even by agnostics and devout atheists.

Given the importance and resonance of music and reflection in the mystic practices of all the major religions, I thought it would make an excellent concept for my fourth release in the ethnic fusion, meditation, and spiritual genres.

Composition Notes:

1.) In The Sunlight Of Awareness

Inspired by the poetry of Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh - best known in the West as the father of Engaged Buddhism, which seeks ways to apply the insights from Dharma teachings and meditation practices to the inequalities of economic, environmental, and socio-political situations - this composition is a blend of Chinese and Vietnamese themes, influenced from the traditional music of both countries.

It features the dizi, a Chinese transverse flute made of bamboo, backed by a custom patch for my MIDI bass guitar that blends a yangqin and a tam thap luc - two hammered dulcimers, the former from China, the latter from Vietnam, and a complex synthesizer bed, in C Major.

2.) A Dark Night Of The Soul

The title phrase and its meaning is found in many mystical traditions, as well as the writings of many philosophers, even though it is usually associated with a spiritual crisis between the individual and their union with the Christian God.

Although sounding very sinister, a dark night of the soul actually implies the ongoing process of liberation from attachments and compulsions, and empowering oneself to live more freely. It is often triggered by an external event, like the sudden death of a loved one, rendering the meaning of one's life - up to that point - completely invalid. The individual now must go through the depths of despair before reaching an awakening. The Sufi poet Rumi captured it succinctly when he wrote: "The cure for the pain is the pain."

This arrangement features a bowed acoustic bass - played via an electric MIDI bass guitar - a custom patch that blends Arabian and Indian flutes, and a myriad of synthesizer pads & vox, in the key of D harmonic minor, one of my favorite "dark" keys.

3.) I Drift Like A Wave On The Ocean

This enigmatic piece, inspired by Chapter 20 of Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching, makes use of many instruments, including: acoustic piano, ambient pads, hand percussion, and a plethora of synth beds & vox, all playing simple lines, ideas, arpeggios, etc. trying to form a "whole is greater than the sum of its parts" arrangement. To tie it in with the previous two tracks, I used F Major and F Lydian, primarily.

Music has long played an integral part in all religious ceremonies, and has several different functions in Taoist ones. They believe that music is an effective way to speak to their deities, inspire their followers, and achieve inner harmony, bringing both listeners and participants closer to Tao (Dao) - the Way, or the One path to enlightenment.

4.) Stigmatum S. Francisci (The Holy Wounds Of St. Francis)

Saint Francis of Assisi is one of the most venerated religious figures in history. According to Christian/Roman Catholic tradition, he received the stigmata during the apparition of a seraph in 1224, making him the first recorded person in Christian history to bear the wounds of Christ's Passion.

One day while St. Francis was praying alone on a mountain, a seraph appeared to him in the sky, with hands and feet pierced by nails. After assuring Francis that his wounds were symbolic, as angels can feel no pain, rays of light beamed from the five wounds of the seraph, and marked Francis with the visible and painful wounds of Christ.

(Modern medical experts have hypothesized from records of St. Francis' physical ailments and symptoms, that he probably suffered from maladies like trachoma and/or quartan malaria, maybe even leprosy, which would have produced stigmata-like marks on his body.)

This arrangement is an amalgam of the Latin hymn Dies Irae in D minor, and an atmospheric synthesizer bed outlining a five-chord progression in Dm and F Major, to obviously symbolize the holy wounds. I chose this hymn since it is usually attributed to Tomaso de Celano, a Franciscan monk who was one of the twelve disciples of St. Francis, as well as his first biographer.

A medieval poem in trochaic meter, Dies Irae is characterized by its accentual stress, and its rhymed lines. It describes the Day of Judgment, with the last trumpet summoning souls before the throne of God, where the saved will be delivered, and the rest will be cast into the eternal flames of Hell.

5.) A Garland Of Severed Heads

Inspired by the writings of Swami Vivekananda, disciple of the 19th-century mystic Ramakrishnaa, and a global spokesperson for the Indian philosophy of Vedanta - which over the years has adopted ideas from Yoga, Nyaya, and other schools to become the most prominent school of Hinduism, this piece features effected Indian string instruments, including: sitar, surbahar (bass sitar), and a veena - all performed on MIDI bass guitar - with numerous synth beds, pads, and themes, playing mostly inside of C#m7 & A Lydian (E Major).

The title refers to one of the many emblems of Kali, the Black Goddess. The garland of severed heads - sometimes depicted as skulls - that she wears symbolizes the many individuals that she has liberated from the endless cycle of death and rebirth. Although the iconography may seem grim and horrific to most Westerners at first glance, they should be viewed more as trophies of enlightenment, or the possessions of a proud mother, like babies' teeth, or bronzed shoes, etc.

The garland usually consists of fifty heads, representing the fifty letters of the Sanskrit alphabet, the origin of sound, and a Tantric metaphor for creative power. She is sometimes referred to as Shabda Brahman, or Sound-Brahman, and her paradoxical combinations of maternal tenderness and destructive terror, the Vedic and Tantric paths, made her an optimal choice for me, conceptually.

6.) Sha'are Orah (Gates Of Light)

The title (aka Shaarei Ora, Shaarey Orah, Sefer ha-Orah) is from the classic work of Rabbi Joseph Gikatila, a 13th-century Kabbalist, considered to be one of the most significant contributions on the subject of the Names of God, and their mystical applications.

In the Kabbalistic tradition, there are wordless songs, called nigun or nigunim that are considered paths to a higher consciousness. Reflecting a blend of musical spectrums, some have structures and progressions, some are repetitive and cyclical, while some contain elements of both, like you would find in most East-meets-West fusion. I chose the latter as a point of departure for this composition.

Given the importance of names and numbers in Kabbalah and Jewish mysticism, I used D Aeolian mode and D harmonic minor, for conceptual purposes. D for David (King David was a talented musician) = Kaleth = 4 = number of strings on my bass guitar, and Aeolian for David's lyre, which was most likely an Aeolian harp - named after the mythological Greek god of the winds.

A solo piece performed on MIDI bass guitar, in dropped D tuning, that uses a custom patch of several stringed instruments, including: guitar, harp, and lyre, with generous amounts of delay and reverb.

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