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Mike Lazarev 'Sacred Tonalities' [CD]

Mike Lazarev 'Sacred Tonalities' [CD]

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Glass-mastered, silkscreen printed CD housed in a 4-panel 7.3" x 5.3", matte cardstock Digistak. Clear CD tray. Cardstock made from recycled board. Shrinkwrapped. Bandcamp download code included.

Sacred Tonalities is Mike Lazarev's debut album with Past Inside the Present. Mike is an incredible ambient and modern classical composer who also runs the fantastic online informer Headphone Commute.

Mike stated that his last two full-lengths were all about exploring time. Entering time, exiting time, and finding yourself within time. "I think that for Sacred Tonalities, I wanted to be present with time. It's a very meditative state of mind. Like the ocean. Like breathing." Mike wanted the music on Sacred Tonalities to become a mantra during introspective moments.

"I decided to create a sonic aid which could be used as a guide through these meditations. The music features a wide spectrum of frequencies, allowing the listener to pick and choose what they want to focus on or lose themselves in. It starts off pretty timid, almost frail, and grows into a textural and spacial soundscape, which tells its own story, sometimes a bit different on subsequent listens. I spent a lot of time peeling apart these layers myself, picking this or that slow-beating vibration as the focus to see where it leads and changing the emphasis of the melody so that the listener can ride any sound wave they want. And so, the tonalities become a device in themselves, to escort the meditator during their journey."

Mike further describes how he cultivated and created Sacred Tonalities, "On the technical side, I often started by painting the ground layer with super wide brush strokes, always using a hardware synth, ranging from analogue modular to wavetable or granular synthesis, including a lot of gear from the late 90s. If you're familiar with these synths, you may be able to pick out the classics, like Roland JP-8000, Clavia Nord Lead, Novation Nova, Access Virus C, and some newer ones, like Argon 8M, Waldorf Iridium and ASM Hydrasynth. I enjoy designing sound from scratch here, playing with modulated harmonics, gritty and soft. If you listen closely, you will hear layers, layers, layers, moving, fluctuating, and constantly rearranging themselves. Then, when this amorphous blob is nearly finished, I start drawing the outlines of the main melody, accentuating it with bass, piano, and lead arpeggios to give it some rhythm. Finally, when this sonic sculpture is almost complete, I chisel away and remove many things, stripping some structure and polishing off the edges."

About the style, Mike says that "if you listen closely, you may even pick up on some post-90s progressive trance in there, which I've completely reduced down to its bare essence (for example, on Tonality Number Five) - this is a nod to my early days when I used to produce hard acid trance back in the mid-90s - if you were into that type of music, especially from Platipus, Noom, or Time Unlimited labels, some aesthetics here may trigger a flashback. So, we're talking about travelling back in time again... where our past is always inside the present..."

Written, produced and mixed by Mike Lazarev
Mastered at Ambient Mountain House by James Bernard
Photography and design by zakè

©℗ Past Inside the Present
This is PITP30

◾️◾️◾️ REVIEWS

"Mike Lazarev drops his first album on Past Inside the Present and it's one that reminds us why he has such a great reputation as being one of modern ambient and classical's finest composers. After exploring notions of time on previous records, for this one, he embraces the here and now and that lends itself to a record steeped in mindfulness and meditation. As such, Sacred Tonalities is a perfect accompaniment to introspective moments with textural soundscapes placing you at the centre of them. The harmonics range from soft to gritty, the moods occasionally hint at trance and the layers of bass, piano and arps bring subtle and ever-shifting rhythms."

-Juno Records


"On Mike Lazarev’s debut with Past Inside The Present titled Sacred Tonalities, Lazarev builds sparse soundscapes that turn subtlety into hypnotic and visceral. Quiet, buzzing tones build over several minutes in almost sci-fi-like mystery. This is the kind of music for deep dives and meditative headiness. Past work Lazarev has said was “exploring time. Entering time, exiting time, and finding yourself within time”, whereas Sacred Tonalities is “present with time. It’s a very meditative state of mind. Like the ocean. Like breathing.”

You get a very elemental vibe with this record. It’s like breaking down existence into its individual parts and exploring them in some microscopic world, which turns out to be the universe itself."

- Complex Distractions

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