Magic Music-Chants for Meditation
Bozo Adagio's first album, Turn Off Your Mind, Relax and Float Downstream, was sitting in the Marx Music vaults when we began recording this, the group's sophomore voyage. I had not wanted Turn Off... to compete with the appearance of BOZO allegro's Relentlessly Cheerful (which premiered in January, 2001) and planned to hold the album back until April or May. (As it turns out, the first two Bozo Adagio albums are being released together.) I did, however, give Christmas copies of Turn Off... to various friends and family members, and one of the former, my therapist, Lyndall Johnson, was enormously taken by it. She began to program it into the Christian meditation retreats she leads, with gratifyingly successful results. One day we had a conversation in which Lyndall complained about the dearth of Christian (as opposed to Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic, et alia) chant recordings and wondered if I would be interested in addressing the shortage within the context of the Bozo Adagio format. I was immediately deluged by ideas, and in less than a week the concept for this album -- short, simple, easy-to-sing-and-remember-and-repeat chants, accompanied by drones and subtly shifting, dissolving and resolving chord changes -- had popped, virtually complete, into my head. We started recording within the month. I used a variety of sources for my texts. 'Alleluia' and 'Amen' presented themselves as the most sacred and evocative words from the Anglo-Christian tradition. Similarly, 'Dona Nobis Pacem' was the Latin phrase that demanded inclusion. My partner Candlin Dobbs suggested Julian of Norwich's 'All Shall Be Well' (which turned out sychronistically to be a favorite of Lyndall's), and 'Everything In Harmony' was an incantation I had devised for theatre meditations at Loyola High School in Los Angeles. The duration of the harmonies under the repetitive chants contracts and expands in an arch form through the album. It starts with a length of approximately thirty-two seconds in 'Alleluia,' decreases gradually to four seconds by the beginning of 'Everything In Harmony' (which is a breathed, rather than sung, chant), and then slowly increases until it returns to the original length of thirty-two seconds by the end of 'Amen.' One may choose active or passive involvement with the album - chant along, or simply listen and breathe. Either way, a meditative and relaxing time is guaranteed for all. ---Mark Browning Milner.