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Maneki Neko | Muichi Motsu

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New Age: Ambient Electronic: Ambient Moods: Mood: Dreamy
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Muichi Motsu

by Maneki Neko

The gently shifting motion of these eight sound meditations creates energy without meaning, glimpses into untethered expectations. Looping lush textures blended with flutes, bells and percussion fuse into a deep ambient space.
Genre: New Age: Ambient
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Chado
3:11 $0.99
2. Between Heaven And Earth
10:05 album only
3. Water Margin
5:12 $0.99
4. Maitreya
7:48 $0.99
5. Ajna
10:08 album only
6. The Deeper Well
4:23 $0.99
7. Adrift
10:24 album only
8. Morning Mist
7:19 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
A very minimal song. Chado is the highly ritualized traditional tea service in Japan. The song was created with this in mind and how many things within our lives have rituals associated with them.

Between Heaven and Earth
A song inspired by meditating on the Daoism concepts of Heaven and Earth as two aspects of cosmology and being of a dualistic nature in Daoism. Heaven and Earth are thought to maintain the two poles of the Three Realms of reality, with the middle realm occupied by humanity.

Water Margin
Water Margin is one of the four great classical novels of Chinese literature. This is music for one of the stories within Water Margin. Read the novel and the song will be placed for you.

Sanskrit for the future Buddha. Tibetan prayer bells, chimes and flute call out to the coming Buddha. This is the second prayer song for the future Buddha. Miroku (Japanese for the future Buddha) on Auracle being the first.

Ajna was created late at night, usually starting at midnight, over the course of a few days. It was inspired by my episode of transient global amnesia.This is a very inward searching song, it’s about the eternal search for inner peace and tranquility. In the Hindu tradition, Ajna is the sixth chakra. Ajna is located on the forehead, between the eyebrows and is also referred to as the “third eye”. This was the last song created for this release and finished up just before heading out to mastering.

The Deeper Well
This was a fun song to create. At about 1:01 there is a rainstick type of sound. This started off by rolling a number of plastic beads across the floor of the studio and recording this sound a number of times. Layering, delaying and reverb-ing these recordings created the rainstick sound. There is also a sound that repeats a few times through the song, it first appears at about 5 seconds, its a repeated, soft clapping sound. This sound is also taken from the plastic beads, ran through a stutter edit plug (usually used on vocals for the stuttering effect popular in pop vocals), heavily reverbed and a bit of modulation thrown in. The third sound that came out of the plastic beads is the wind noise. Some time stretching, reversing the sound, reverb and a Doppler effect created the wind. The remaining sounds are a pad, an arpeggiator to create the rising swirling sound and a drone from a tambura.

Sometimes in life you need to go nowhere and take your time getting there.

Morning Mist
The first song finished for this release. It was created mainly in the early morning hours during spring. With all the windows open as the sun rises, the sound of nature awaken filled the room and created it’s own melody.



to write a review

Richard Gurtler

Another stellar accomplishment by Maneki Neko!!!
Maneki Neko, a project of Al Mikula, based in Austin, Texas, certainly belongs to the best kept secrets on the contemplative verges of ambient soundsculpting. It took me quite long time before I was able to explore his soothingly immersing debut album "Auracle", released back in 2005. "muichi motsu", the second installment was originally scheduled for its release during the autumn of 2012. After longer time of silence, "muichi motsu" album finally became a reality in June 2014 through Stray Pointer Records, which is, I believe, own label of Al Mikula. The CD is packaged in tasteful digipak. I remember I was praying for Maneki Neko's return in my review of "Auracle" in May of 2013, so now I am really happy to be a part of this continuing journey...

"Chadō" opens with deeply meditative gongs and reverberations, then breathy flute roars sharply overflow and alternate with fragile tinkles and edgy percussions, while continuously permeated by eloquent stillness. Quite short, sparse and slightly cacophonous beginning, but distinctively expressive, undoubtedly Maneki Neko is back at the very top of his craft!!! On 10-minute "Between Heaven And Earth" tranquilly embracing washes masterfully interact with expressive flute magic and sporadic elusive chimes. This ethereally expansive composition is absolutely gorgeous and it sounds exactly as it is titled. "Water Margin" unfolds with contemplative bells surrounded by richly colorful atmospheric thunder cloudscapes and delicately amalgamated with native flute artifacts and sparkling organic essences. Voice-like drones guard above, but the high-pitched swampy dissonances emerge here and there with its mindscaping touch. Stunningly magnificent auralscape awaits here, just enter the gates!!! Ear-tickling bells announce "Maitreya", but the journey is quickly stolen by serenely immense drifts, always meandering and traversing with breathtakingly panoramic grace, exquisitely augmented by mysteriously fragranced tinkles. Intensely evocative sonic elixir for my ears!!! "Ajna", another longer piece clocking over 10-minute mark, again reveals warmly peaceful scenic vistas, enriched by tinkling subtleties, and caresses the inner realms of each dedicated listener. "The Deeper Well" dives into adventurous subterranean domains, where assorted swirling sounds irregularly rise and glimmer, while rather monochromatic, but circuitous tambura-like drone rides atop. Slightly weirder, but gracefully spacious and mesmerizingly engrossing. Another 10-plus minute composition, "Adrift", remains in cavernous terrains, but it slowly floats and spirals toward bigger subterranean passages protected by occasional divine choirs and undulating rumbles and noises. "Morning Mist" closes this serene journey with hauntingly expansive ambience, safely gliding through beautiful cascades of balsamic natural wonders. An impeccable finale to wrap up this album!!!

"muichi motsu" is another stellar accomplishment by Maneki Neko, it offers eight expertly sculpted sonic meditations with own signatures and it's filled with over 58 minutes of enchantingly absorbing aural symmetry between western ambient textures and traditional Asian instrumental explorations. If you are an aficionado of deeply reflective soundscaping and you are not familiar with Maneki Neko yet, then I highly recommend to you to reconsider your targets, because artistic expressions of Al Mikula deserve to be fully explored, trust me!!!

Richard Gürtler (Aug 16, 2014, Bratislava, Slovakia)

Michael Diamond (www.michaeldiamondmusic.com)

Review excerpt from Music and Media Focus
Maneki Neko (pronounced Ma-neh-kee Neh-ko) is the nom de plume, or more specifically, the musical identity of composer, soundscape artist, and recording engineer Al Mikula who specializes in electro-acoustic ambient music for yoga, relaxation, meditation, and massage therapy. The album opens in absolute Zen-like simplicity with a track called Chadō, which is named for the highly ritualized traditional tea service in Japan. The sound of the elements predominate as reverberations of a metal gong set the stage for the blending of earth and air via shakuhachi flute and earthy wooden percussion. Space plays as much a part as sound in this minimalistic prelude.

The theme of the balance of elements carries over into the next track entitled “Between Heaven and Earth.” Not nearly as sparse, however, with a lush bed of ambient synthesizers providing a dreamy backdrop for fluttering flute and bells, reflecting the dualistic nature of reality as seen in the teachings of Daoism which inspired this song. In this piece, as well as others, one of my favorite aspects is the blending of ethereal electronic textures with more traditional Asian instrumental sounds. “The Deeper Well” is perhaps the most experimental piece on the recording and contains a number of fascinating studio sound manipulations to achieve its otherworldly ambience.

I really enjoyed the gentle meditative presence that the music of Maneki Neko exudes. The integration of traditional Asian instruments with ambient electronic sounds brought to mind the well-known concept of yin and yang or balance of opposites. The album is a wonderful follow up to the debut release from Maneki Neko entitled Auracle, which was said to “combine traditional instruments and melodic structures from cultures with long-standing meditative traditions to build soundscapes that aid the 21st century meditator on a relaxing inner journey.” The music on muichi motsu follows in this tradition and is sure to appeal to spiritual seekers or anyone wanting to create a peaceful and relaxing ambience.

To read a full length review of this CD as well as others, please visit: www,michaeldiamondmusic.com