Matt Venuti | The Rhythm of Life

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The Rhythm of Life

by Matt Venuti

CD Baby Editor's Pick and ZMR top 10 2 months in a row! Gorgeous melodies, deep rhythms, lush arrangements and heart inspiring rhymes... this music offers peace and joy in the most troubled of times.
Genre: Pop: Ambient Pop
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. A Place to Breathe
5:33 $0.99
2. Afraid
5:56 $0.99
3. Door of the Heart
4:27 $0.99
4. The Rhythm of Life
5:12 $0.99
5. Rise
3:55 $0.99
6. The All
5:12 $0.99
7. Loosen the Grip
5:03 $0.99
8. Desert Dreams
5:51 $0.99
9. Lean on Me
3:54 $0.99
10. Breathe (Reprise)
2:03 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
The Rhythm Of Life rose from the ashes of what appeared to be a very unfortunate start to my 2015 US tour. My vehicle was robbed in Texas and most of my worldly possessions were taken; which included my video cameras, recording gear, laptops, sound-system, various musical instruments, clothes, wallet, passport…and boxes containing a couple thousand copies of my solo CD, entitled "Rise". Fortunately, the primary instruments that I play were safe where I was staying for the night.

I remember sliding open the side door of my van and after the initial shock a voice shot through me that that said, “this can either empower you or embitter you…make that choice now”. I didn’t know how it could “empower” me, but after making that choice things started to fall into place with minimal struggle. Most importantly I was able to continue my tour and due to the grace of family and fortitude I replaced and upgraded those items that were absolutely necessary, determined as I was to make the best out of this situation and start anew. I considered re-ordering the Rise CD and having it shipped to me somewhere down the road. Then an idea came to mind...why not also upgrade the Rise CD and create something fresh out of it? This felt empowering to me.

From that decision came "The Rhythm Of Life", which contains most of the songs from Rise with a couple surprise pieces added. The foundation is still paved with the spectacular hand-crafted instruments from PANArt in Switzerland (the Hang, Gubal and Gudu) but the groove and harmonic structure is much more elaborate and vibrant.
The Rhythm Of Life features some of my San Francisco-based Venusian bandmates (listed below) as well as some wonderful backing female vocals to compliment my own. I spent most of 2016 grounded in the Bay Area recording, producing, arranging and performing the songs of The Rhythm Of Life. I hope it will be considered an “upgrade” from Rise, taken from me in the wilds of Texas…perhaps for reasons beyond my choice of “empowerment” over “embitterment”. We shall see.

The Songs:

1. A Place To Breathe…an introspective tune inspired by the name of a venue that I played, followed by an experience in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia that involved a bear. When everything seems to matter, nothing matters more than finding peace.

2. Afraid…a dreamy, sensuous musical journey into the darker realms..."hold my shaky heart when I'm afraid" is the mantra throughout.

3. Door Of The Heart…pulsing and percolating rhythms and harmonies. Life ceases to be a battlefield when the heart is open to love.

4. The Rhythm Of Life…the lively title track, ”we are all in this together…the rhythm of life”. What more needs to be said?

5. Rise…a lush ballad and the title track of that fateful CD that was stolen. I originally wrote Rise as both a personal catharsis and to commemorate the passing of my wife in 2008. I later came to realize that this song is for everyone. No one escapes the cycle of life and death. Rise to the will carry you home.

6. The All…a cool, Brazilian feel that poetically points to the idea that polar opposites exist in every facet of life, but within the depths of the heart, there is no separation…it is All.

7. Loosen The Grip…a flowing, country feel that calls to Love to "loosen the grip” that obstructs joy from life.

8. Desert Dreams…a musically haunting spoken-word journey through the deserts of the Southwest and the mysteries that they hold. I wrote this while touring through Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and the Mojave of California.

9. Lean On Me…the very first cover tune I’ve ever recorded, this rendition of the Bill Wither’s classic is also the simplest arrangement on the album, featuring a lush layering of vocal harmonies supported by a solo Hang track.

10. Breathe Reprise…an instrumental and musically introspective “remix” of A Place To Breathe that I put together to end the album and merge it with the beginning.

The Players:
Matt Venuti…Vocals, Hang, Gubal, Hang Gudu, Keyboards, Electronic Valve Instrument, Percussion and Basslines
Robert M. Powell…Pedal Steel and various Guitars
Celso Alberti…Drums and Percussion
Daniel Berkman…Kora, Cello and Guitalele
John Steiner…Keyboards
Peck Allmond…Trumpet

With Supporting vocals by:
Lucia Lilikoi
Lakshmi Devi
Rose Armin Hoiland
Nicolia Gooding
Deborah Winters
Kendra Faye
Jennifer Tait
Hallie McConlogue

Recorded by Matt, Robert Powell and Celso Alberti at Venus Central in Larkspur, The Underbelly in Fairfax and CA Studios in Oakland.
Final mix with Celso Alberti at CA Studios except “Afraid” and “Desert Dreams” with Robert M. Powell at The Underbelly in Fairfax.
Mastered by Gary Hobish at A. Hammer Mastering in San Francisco
CD Photos taken by Celso Alberti
CD Design by Jan Salerno

Many thanks to the following:

My brother Mark Venuti,
Yair and Ayelet Ben-Shlomo,
Jon, Jacob, Ella and Lucy Zimmerman,
Johannah and Mario Dottori,
Celso Alberti, Robert M. Powell and all the talented artists who joined me on this adventure.

The musical foundation of these songs were made playing the Hang, Gubal, and Gudu; contemporary instruments from Berne, Switzerland. Respect and gratitude to Felix, Sabina and the PANArt family for creating these extraordinary sound-sculptures.

Dedicated to the loving memory of cousin John and Frances Coppola



to write a review

Helena Dee

THE RHYTHM OF LIFE by singer-songwriter Matt Venuti is a fascinating and heart-felt new album with lyrics outlining universal tenets. He's one of the best-known players of the Hang and Gubal (the modern, metallic, melodic-and-rhythmic instruments that look like mini flying saucers). His vocal style is velvety-rich over ambient grooves with deep-drawn lyrics. There's also a spoken-word-with-music track (“Desert Dreams”) and a cover tune (Bill Withers’ “Lean On Me”) that's a fresh, gorgeous take on a classic song. Venuti is backed by stellar musician/bandmates including Robert Powell on pedal steel guitar, Daniel Berkman on Kora (African harp), John Steiner on piano and organ, and Celso Alberti on a chorus of beautiful female harmony vocals throughout the album. On select tracks Matt also plays the Electronic Valve Instrument, another musical "voice" that he is well known for.

Matt's band The Venusians have been a staple in San Francisco and became favorites of the so-called “digerati” of Silicon Valley, the Burning Man community, and the club and festival scene. More recently Matt has played at TED and TEDx conferences and now spends most of his time on the road as a solo performer and occasionally with a small ensemble, playing concerts throughout the US and occasionally abroad.

Check out this warm, life-affirming music from Matt Venuti.

Steve Sheppard

Review from One World Music Radio (
A new name to me, but one that I think I will be forever featuring on my future shows, as the ambience that Matt Venuti brings is awe inspiring. The opening track on this chilled new release is called A Place to Breathe and Venuti whose percussive instrumentation of choice is the unique, Hang, Gubal, and Hang Gu, which features prominently through this piece, as it does through the whole of the album.
The soft nature of Venuti’s vocals and his percussive mastery and poignant lyrics, brings us our own place of peace, a place to breathe, and place to move away from the rampant cacophony of life’s incessant chatter.
As a singer songwriter myself, it was quite a pleasure to review this album and on Afraid we continue this blissful journey of sight and sound. The delicacy of tone that Ventui’s percussive instruments give is amazingly chilled, in parts Venuti’s vocals reminds me slightly of Mitten, here he includes a wonderful slide guitar and backing vocals to enhance this moment of calm. Each song is a journey to enjoy, and through the profound lyricism we can do just that, this is almost roots blues meets new age.
We have only been on this musical sojourn for two tracks and I adore it already and on the next piece entitled Door of the Heart, we have a really mindful piece that also contains some sensitive acoustic guitar, and once more some very meaningful words, time to drop the shields and sow seeds of love, so true, to the point and honest, a song that for me is similar in style and energy to James Taylor.
Now we arrive, dear reader at the title track, that moment of self-expression, that time when the entire concept of the album is worn on the sleeve of the artist. A little light funky beat and some delicious organ leads us through an almost gospel style track. However The Rhythm of Life expands on a statement that I made to a friend who had decided to go back to religion, I said, it matters not, we’re all in this together, and to hear this song, I may well send this one to him, to help him through his troubled times, it certainly says everything and of course the lyrics are totally true. A happy piece of realisation and honesty played in an upbeat tone, that will make you smile whoever, or whatever you are.
At the half way juncture we come across a sensitive piece called Rise. This ballad really hits the nail on the head; we have no limitations, open your heart and Rise! A soft and calming moment of awareness can be found in this song, that you too can stand and look at the sun on the horizon and accept your place in this world, as much as anyone else. An inspiring anthem, performed with tenderness and love.
I love the opening to The All, in fact I loved it so much I have now played the track 4 times in a row, it’s absolutely impressive, and Venuti’s percussive mastery comes into full vogue here, with a little Jazz styled ethic as well. Venuti’s song is enhanced by female backing vocals and an almost Latin beat that drives it forever onwards.
The many musical borders that the artist crosses on the album is impressive, and to do it with such style is equally so. On Loosen The Grip, we have another song of empowerment and letting go. Musically this is a track that has such smooth flow and essence about its construction, it’s simply blissful to revel in. Listen to the rhythm here as well, masterfully manifested by Venuti, and perhaps it’s the rhythm of life?
As we move deeper into the release, we have a luscious flute and spoken audio that is so very descriptive, and soon we find ourselves within nature’s sublime majesty, as we make our way across Turtle Island. This musical journey is depictured with supreme clarity and colour by the musician. Desert Dreams is a little special slice of creative genius, and Matt Venuti is without doubt our master narrator.
Our penultimate offering is a version of the Bill Withers eternal hit Lean on Me. This is one of those songs that has such a deeply powerful meaning, the harmonies here have done it complete justice, and the vocals used create a semi acapella version, the percussive deft of hand by Venuti only adds to the quality of the composition.
I hope dear reader; you have enjoyed this release by Matt Venuti, The Rhythm of Life. It has to be one if not THE most chilled and original albums I have come across this year, we can finish with a shortened version of the opener, called Breathe Reprise and reflect upon our musical journey.
When we look back, we can see the road we have travelled musically has been both inspiring and empowering; we have faced our fears and won the day. Albums like this should be in every home and in every language. The messages contained within this release should be a mantra of the future for all our families. Matt Venuti has manifested something calm, peaceful and meaningful, the production, musicianship, song writing and arrangements are utterly magnificent, and I can do no more than urge you to make this part of your musical collection as soon as you can.