Since the beginning, humanity has had a cosmic connection with the planets above. Ancient astrologers made sense of our lives here on Earth using the planets as guiding lights for us here on Earth. Gods and deities were named for the planets. The ancients spoke of the “harmony of the spheres” to explain the balance of the natural world around them. Seekers, from ancient astrologers to modern astronomers have charted and tried to understand the deeper mysteries of the universe through the charting of the other planets in our Solar System. Scientists study the eight main planets of our solar system to discover other planets deeper in space to find other signs of intelligent life.
The sounds of Heavenly Bodies were constructed by using the spatial movements of the planets translated into frequencies. Astronomy is the application of geometry through space, music is the application of geometry through time. This album seeks to bridge the spatial and sonic by exploring the sacred ratios and mathematics that guide the planets as they dance through our solar system with perfect balance and precision.
Measurements like the rate at which the planets orbit the sun, how many moons a planet has, how wide the circumference of the planets is, were translated to musical elements like pitch, duration, frequency, time, and oscillation. Also, the quality and the narrative story of each planet was woven into the composed soundscapes to give a sense of the wonder and majesty of each planet. Mercury’s soundscape, for example, is a dense, hot stew of tones, while Neptune’s soundscape is a distant, watery and mysterious. Although in astrology Earth is usually omitted from the planetary charts, it is included in this album. Unique among the other planets for its thriving ecosystem, the soundscape of the track “Earth” includes field recordings from around the planet in a subtle soundscape that sounds like home.
The Dream Cycles
For almost two decades ambient musician and consciousness explorer Michael Reiley has an interest in creating music for the liminal space between waking, dreaming, and sleep. On the 21st of January, 2021, Michael will release a long-form work called The Dream Cycles. This eight and a half-hour long album contains a carefully crafted mix of musical tones, binaural beats (for headphone listeners) tuned to aid sleep, long periods of silence or barely audible soundscapes to aid in the cycles of deep sleep, an extended session during the third phase of sleep to guide in lucid dreaming, and a gently unfolding piece of music on the piano that emerges slowly from the lucid dream suite like a mirage to welcome you into the Hypnopompic state of shifting towards waking consciousness.
The album is the third in a trilogy of sleep music albums. 2014’s eight-hour sleep album Quiescent was hailed internationally for its soothing, sleep-inducing textures described as “A ‘gateway’ to an ephemeral place and beyond”. Michael also has several years of experience playing sleep/dream concerts in lofts, homes, studios, and even a dream psychologist’s office.
The Dream Cycles evolves from Michael’s 2020 offering Celestial Music Box, an online platform that generates soothing ambient music by using the position of overhead stars in the sky creating an immersive, healing wash of sound conducted by the stars and planets above. Also during the pandemic, Michael offered several overnight steaming sleep concerts in a series called Sleep Stream on his YouTube channel mixing field recordings, looped keyboards, and hand pan improvisations for fans around the world.
The Dream Cycles’ title is adapted from a book by H.P. Lovecraft from his “Dreamlands” series. Michael’s study and practice of Buddhism, Dream Yoga, Lucid Dreaming, and his work and teaching of “Listening in Dreams” practice with Deep Listening co-founded IONE all inform the musical journey through the spectrums of consciousness illuminating the night as we listen, sleep, dream, dissolve, and reemerge reborn and anew every morning.
released January 21, 2021
Piano recorded at Rittenhouse Sound Works, Philadelphia, US
with Wild Anima (Sacred Sea)
Heliostāsio stands for the standing of the sun so called by ancient Greeks to describe the solstice. This ambient album is the outcome of an impromptu live jam session by sound artists’s Michael Reiley (Philadelphia) and Wild Anima (Berlin) recorded at Berlin’s Glogauair residency space in September 2018.
Inspired by their own individual stays in Iceland the artists paint a multi-layered soundscape standing in between night and day and time and matter. Translating this infinite yet ephemeral moment found in the dance of the celestial bodies, where shadow and light slip softly in between the rhythms of nature and the cosmos. The spaces in between, dawn and dusk, solstices and equinoxes. Recurring patterns yet never the same.
released December 21, 2020
all tracks performed and recorded live by Michael Reiley and Wild Anima at Glogauair, Berlin
synths and field recordings by Michael Reiley
vocals and beats by Wild Anima
mixing and mastering by Michael Reiley
artwork by leftfieldcorn
As an extension of Michael’s weekly offering on Meditative Soundscapes comes a new album in the “Meditation” series. This collection of music explores the broad and important concept of Vipassanā as a form of meditation. The album can experienced as a soundtrack to a wordless guided meditation to explore the “three marks of existence” as the ultimate inquiry into true nature of existence. It can also be explored as a curiosity or background ambient music or as a soundtrack to your life.
Vipassanā (Pāli) or vipaśyanā (Sanskrit) literally, “special-seeing”, “special, seeing (Passanā)”, is a Buddhist term that is often translated as “insight”. The Pali Canon describes it as one of two qualities of mind which is developed (bhāvanā) in Buddhist meditation, the other being samatha (mind calming). It is often defined as a form of meditation that seeks “insight into the true nature of reality”, defined as anicca “impermanence”, dukkha “suffering, unsatisfactoriness”, anattā “non-self”, the three marks of existence in the Theravada tradition, and as śūnyatā “emptiness” and Buddha-nature in the Mahayana traditions.
released September 4, 2020
Artwork by teyleen
An album of gently unfolding minimal waves of sounds. This simple suite contains over two hours of long-playing tracks that move slowly with many pauses in sound to make room for your own experience. The sound palette for Samatha is a simple Juno pad and RavVast hand pan (similar to the Hang Drum, a cross between a steel drum and a harp). This music was created for an online Yoga Class by Italian teacher Monica Gentile. It has a very live feel as it was recorded usually in one stream of conscious take as I played along to the yoga video class. It feels like you are in the room with me as I play. It obviously works well for your own practice, meditation, being, becoming and the gentle unfolding of life as it is.
Samatha (Pāli) is a Buddhist term that is often translated as the “tranquility of the mind”, or “mind-calmness”. The Pali Canon describes it as one of two qualities of mind which is developed (bhāvanā) in Buddhist meditation, the other being vipassana(insight). Samatha is said to be achieved by practicing single-pointed meditation. This includes a variety of mind-calming techniques. Samatha is common to many Buddhist traditions.
In the sounds of everyday life shines the luminous ground of infinite space. Deep in the stillness of silent becoming we can experience the interconnected web, present and waiting to be plucked.
Dibba-sota is one of the deeper states of transcendent meditation taught in Buddhism. Specifically, Dibba-sota translates from the Pali to mean “Divine ear” or clairaudience or supernatural hearing.
This collection of deep and still music is inspired by the imagined serenity and interconnection I find listening to the (un)natural world. Many of the tracks contain field recording I made in 2016 traveling to Ottawa, Quebec, Montana and Washington. With each piece, I sought to augment the natural environmental sounds
This album is recommended for meditation, sleep, yoga and slowing down.
This album is dedicated to the memory of Deep Listening founder Pauline Oliveros.