Gratifly- The Heart Collection

Tribal Council is excited and humbled; to be invited to be a part of Gratifly Music and Arts Festival. Gratifly is the first festival of it’s kind in the South East. Promoting intelligent and compassionate music; as well as many workshops, yoga, healing, and visionary art! This festival is going to be very special and intimate community gathering. Focused on bringing this light family together in celebration of love, life, and creativity. With that in mind Gratifly asked a few of the artists performing at the festival in late July; to send their most heart centered song. This collection is an inspiring plethora of artists sharing a similar message.

Gratifly- The Heart Collection Volume 1

Gratifly- The Heart Collection Volume 1

Every song in The Heart Compilation has it’s own distinct sound. Each one is worth taking a moment to listen. It is extremely meditative, to listen to some truly intentional music during your day. The Desert Dwellers, Random Rab, Drumspyder, Akara, and Numatik all were kind enough to give the collection previously unreleased material! Dune’s Lullaby by Random Rab, was written for his son. Through sound, Rab perfectly captures the feeling of child curiosity. Akara’s song, The Sky Dancer; features their quintessential sound. This track features lush instrumentation with beautiful vocals, layered on top of electronic beats. Femke has a hauntingly beautiful quality to her voice, and it really shines through in this song.

Earthcry at Rootwire

Earthcry at Rootwire

Every time I have seen Earthcry (Anthony Thogmartin’s side project) his set has featured binaural beats mixed electronic dance beats. Barreling Towards the Galactic Equator is a very different feel from all the other Earthcry material I have heard. This song is delightfully spacey; but also has this lovely middle eastern feel. This track is one of my favorites off this compilation. Rising Appalachia and The Human Experience recently released an album called Soul Visions. One of the songs, SUNU, was given to Gratifly’s compilation. This song comes from the heart. Masterfully sung and played, David Block takes this earthy song and really adds some flavor. While I would love to talk in detail about every song on this album, the last track I will mention is hOMe Bass by itom Lab. This song is the perfect balance between, galactic techno and electronic dance music. The result is this funky song, with fun sounds that keep you moving throughout!

If you are interested in attending Gratifly, this album introduction to some of the artists on the lineup. Please support Gratifly and our community by taking a listen to The Heart Collection Volume 1. We can not wait to see you at Gratifly!

Subaqueous and Skytree’s campaigns to fund upcoming albums

Tribal Council is blessed to know and support many musicians. Both Subaqueous and Skytree are currently raising money to help produce their upcoming albums. I was lucky to have the time to interview both musicians on their upcoming projects. Subaqueous (Issac Cotec) is using Kickstarter to help fund his upcoming album. His idea is to create a USB drive to share his upcoming and past releases, Ableton sets, remix packs, even videos! This is all in sake of sharing information with other musicians and music lovers alike. Issac is very close to meeting his goal (which ends in six days). Please consider supporting our friend with his Kickstarter here. I was very lucky to have Issac answer a few questions for Tribal Council. (Interview with Skytree follows below.)

Interview with Subaqueous

TC: What made you decide to do this new release on a USB drive, are you releasing any CD’s? Does this help you save in the long run?

Subaqueous: I have had the idea of a USB drive of my music for years. My last album made CD’s and found it was awesome to give to people so they could listen to it on there car on the ride back from festivals. It was also so amazing having my music in  a physically printed medium.  It made it feel  like I made something tangible.  The problem with CD’s is they are a one function device. You brake the jewel case, or loose it, and then it can only go into CD players. A USB can be plugged in, downloaded, reused, played on CDj’s and most upcoming car stereos.  It just made sense to make something physical that can be used and appreciated in many different ways.
That is just the physical idea and practicality of it. To me personally it’s more about the collaborative nature the USB can offer. It allows me to put on so much more then music. It will have videos, interviews, images, music, Ableton Live Sets, Sample packs and other music resources. I am not just sharing the music, but also the process and tools to create the music.
TC: You say you want to use this USB to share knowledge behind your music with others. I like this idea, how specifically would this help share your ideas with others?
Sub: I spend a lot of time devoting to my music. I just spent 5 days making a new way of synthesis in Ableton Live the other week. After spending all that time and pushing myself musically with my tools I can either keep this resource to myself and have a “secret sonic pallet” or I can share it. When I share it with other people they can then take all that devoted energy and craft there own works from it. I love the idea of letting these tools pass through me and help inspire other people. These thoughts were not my own as well. I am just one pathway for them.
I have noticed the more I collaborate and share the more comes to me. I feel inspired when people make remixes, or new tracks from my samples. It makes me want to do this even more.
TC: What artists were you most excited to remix for your upcoming album?
Sub: Well I haven’t announced it yet, but I guess I am now, I am really excited to have Govinda’s remix on this album. I have loved his music for years and been truly inspired by it. To have him remix my own music is such a blessing.  All the other musicians are just as amazing; Kalpataru Tree will have a beautiful dubby remix, eO with his deeply emotional and epic remix, Futexture and Erothyme both made a jazzy spaced out funk remixes, and other sweet revisions on my original music.
TC: How long have you been working on this project?
Sub: Well every decision has lead me to this moment. I’ve thought of the USB drive 3 years ago and have been working towards it. It took a long time to get all the resources underway. Then the Remix album has been worked on for the last 3 months.  I’ve been talking with the artist, working out details, distributors, and such. Been amazing and long time coming.
TC: What was the most challenging thing you have come across with this project, and what are you doing to overcome this?
Sub: It’s been fairly smooth honestly. It’s been a build up of past experiences and is just lining up. There were some tedious parts, like searching the web for a USB manufacturer I trust and finding a product with the lowest environmental impact. That took countless hours of development and contacting people. I overcame it by sure will.
TC: Who or what helps inspire you?
Sub: Well the fact that my fellow producer Skytree released a similar idea on the same day was a huge inspiration.It’s helped me step up my game a little, and think of this more as a movement then a personal endeavor. I also gain a lot of inspiration whenever people thank me for what I do, every time I go dancing, and every time I talk with friends and family.  To easily put it I am truly inspired by all the beauty that surrounds me in all it’s different forms.

Skytree (Evan Snyder) is an incredibly talented musician, who has been releasing his music for free for many years. Evan needs your help in putting together the funds for his upcoming release Cirrus Sapians (to be released in early fall). The USB drive offered will have his full discography, unreleased material, and photo and video footage! Part of his funding will be put towards revamping his website and producing a new  Grassroots California hat. Please support Evan’s Indiegogo fund here, there is still 21 days left! Tribal council was very lucky to have Skytree give us an interview!
Interview with Skytree
TC: 2013 is most certainly a year of grounded, rooted energy – what goals do you have for this year?
Skytree: It absolutely is.  I feel like part of our collective task in 2013 is to take a lot of the ideas, inspirations and intuitions we practiced in 2012 and start to embody them in a more sustainable, more physical, long-term path forward.  What many saw as a culmination of the “shift” in 2012 was, from my perspective, an emergent spike of the birthing and remembrance of the tools we need to move forward and survive as a global family.  It was an incredible social experiment in trans-cultural community.  2013 feels like our new dawn to refine and continue that same work, as the alternative is too grave and, thus, not an option!
So, this is very much in line with my personal goals for this year.  I’m now physically rooted in NYC, rather than living nomadically across the country, and focussing first and foremost on the production of my new album, “Cirrus Sapiens”, a nod to the collective cloud of consciousness that we all share.  This new project will be pressed into hardcopy CD and accompanied by music videos, a custom bamboo USB drive and lots of extras, culminating in my largest musical project to date.  The release is set for the Autumnal Equinox this September, coinciding with a gig at Alex Grey’s Chapel of Sacred Mirrors alongside my friend and fellow producer, Kaminanda.  My hope and intention is that this will act as a springboard, orders of magnitude beyond “Crystal Consciousness”, which alone led to an immense wave of positive change in my path.
TC: Tell me more about your upcoming release Cirrus Sapiens; what artists are you using in your remixes?
Sky: For sure!  To be specific, it’s more of a collaborative process rather than a remix project.  Some artists have been sending me sounds to do whatever I want with (which is akin to remixing in this sense), whereas others are intimately involved in the whole process, with lots of file-swapping and subtle adjustments taking place over a longer periods of time.  A few people I’m working with now include my good friends Biolumigen, Lunecell, Space Jesus, Futexture, Erothyme, the Technicolor Lenses and DVS.  There are a bunch more involved as well that I’m excited to announce when the time is right.  I’ve been working on a lot of these projects in parallel (IE: side by side), so thematically the album will still revolve around a particular sound and environment, while still drawing from a very large pool of talent and techniques.  In a way it will be very much like the older brother of “Crystal Consciousness”, a few years wiser and informed by the crystallized community that manifested “Treemixes V1”.
TC: Can you tell us a little bit about your upcoming music videos?
Sky: The project I’m most excited about is the one we’re looking to release soon, via, as a preview for the album.  A few months ago, I reached out to a very talented chemist who shoots HD video of micro-crystals growing in realtime, using a very specialized process and microscope rig.  He was apparently very enthusiastic about working together and sent my girl and I a heap of footage to use in our video project.  It’s absolutely astounding stuff.  Mesmerizing!  I think it could even get some people out there to think about the self-organizing capacity of crystals in a different light, perhaps more on the wavelength of what would traditionally be defined as life.  It certainly looks that way when you’re watching it – akin to seeing timelapse footage of a vine climbing up a wall and realizing that plants are not by any means as static or stationary as we often think.  We sometimes just need to see things in our own experiential speed to click with what’s actually going on around us.  My hope is that this video will open some perceptions, and at the very least give people some trippy, spirit-expanding/mind-bending entertainment.
TC: How long have you been working on this current project?
Sky: While I only got underway with producing tracks in full about a month and a half ago, I’ve actually been gathering up sounds for over a year now.  Traveling around the country for all of 2012 was definitely a challenge on occasion, but it brought with it countless opportunities to record new sounds and jam with amazingly talented people.  Whenever I found myself in a new studio (which was pretty often), I would take every chance I could to sample everything around me, even if it was just a 10-second clip of a synth patch that caught my ear.  This is the first time starting an album with a whole year’s worth of sounds, all compiled in a big library to dive into whenever I need some fresh vibes – all of which take me back to a prior adventure.  Gotta say, it’s a beautiful way to create music…almost effortless when combined with the minds and spirits of all of my super talented friends and collaborators.
TC: This new GRC flat brim is even more detailed than your last hat – your friend Sam Farrand is very talented. What inspired you to make flat brims?
Sky: Thank you – Sam is absolutely amazing at what he does.  The first lid we did with GRC was one of their best-selling products ever (if not at the top), so it was a hard act to follow.  We wanted to make sure we designed something that would be even more incredible, but also more refined and more mature.  The design we came up with very much fits the bill, pun intended I suppose!  The inspiration to create our first collaboration actually came at the invitation of my friend and incredible wire-wrapper from Colorado, Jason Burruss.  He was kind enough to connect me with Ruga Cons, the CEO of GRC, and we’ve been friends ever since.  I know there’s been a lot of fallout with respect to them moving operations overseas, but I still very much believe in what they do, and greatly appreciate the incredible support they offer musicians like myself.
TC: We bonded over our love of crystals at Rootwire last year; which one(s) have helped inspire you on this latest project?

Sky: Ah, that was a beautiful experience!  Rootwire 2012 was a phenomenal festival, and I was blessed to cross paths with you and many other amazing souls over that gorgeous weekend.  While I’m fascinated with pretty much anything geological, I’ve been especially drawn to metallic crystals over the past few months, as well as multi-species (or what I sometimes call “geodiverse”) specimens.  One example is a beautiful piece I recently traded for at the Purple Hatters Ball in Florida, which contains both pyrite, galena, hematite, quartz, vanadinite and sulfur, all in a specimen the size of a quarter.  I’ve actually found this very much reflected in the sound of the new album, which I’d describe as much more sharp, hefty, solid, bright, metallic, conductive and diverse than any of my previous work.   I very much look forward to sharing it with everyone by the time the Equinox arrives in September!


Downtemple Alignment Awareness

In the past few years I have noticed a rise of interest in down-tempo and ambient music. What once was underground, is now becoming more prevalent in the transformational festival scene. More people are listening to this beautiful dream like music. It may help calm your emotions or help you be more zen. I believe this type of music is perfect for a yoga session or letting your creative juices flow.

Whether you are new to this genre or not, Infinite Geometry’s mix Downtemple Alignment Awareness is perfect to discover something new. This mix is perfect for anyone looking to dive deeper into more ambient side of music. Andy Reed (Infinite Geometry) includes tracks by; Shpongle, Bluetech, Phaeleh, Whitebear, and Entheogenic to name a few of the more popular producers. He seamlessly weaves tracks together, into a divine mix that helps you journey into yourself. Andy has a knack for picking out highly inspirational songs.

You can find this transformational mix for free here. While Andy Reed is a wonderful DJ, he is also an amazing visual artist. Please take a moment to look through his work, his facebook page is here. Andy also has prints for sale on his Esty page.

Merkaba: Our Ascension Vehicle, one of Andy's more recent works.

Merkaba: Our Ascension Vehicle, one of Andy’s more recent works.

Invibe Music- Souls Emerge

Located in Seattle Washington is the recording label, Invibe Music. This company not only focuses and supports talented artists, but they are very fair in their dealings with their artists. Most record labels distribute online as well as physical copies. Invibe strives to help the artist make more off their creation, by only using online distribution. This cuts major costs out and allows for the artist to earn quite a bit more. What they are doing is an inspiration, more recording labels should think about taking this approach. Not only does it help the musician and the recording label but it is also more eco-conscious.

Invibe Music's Souls Emerge compilation album

Invibe Music’s Souls Emerge compilation album

While I will touch upon a few songs off the album, I must say the entire release is thoughtfully compiled. Invibe Music has many up and coming artists for you to discover off this album, Souls Emerge. Some of you may be familiar with Kalpataru Tree, usually it is very downtempo almost ambient music. Kalpataru Tree’s remix of Cloud Story is ambient; using many different samples woven together this song turns into an ethnic tapestry. Look, Subaqueous’s remix is a deep track. I like his use of middle eastern samples in this song, then masterfully layered in is a piano and violin solo! If you want more of a danceable bass- filled track you should check out Para Angie by Eyan Green. This track is one of my favorites off this album. The bass is dirty, but not too heavy like lots of dubstep; he keeps this track upbeat through-out. Procession by Babajaga also uses a middle-eastern inspired violin, the solo is hauntingly beautiful. This track seems to use a more glitchy alien sound. Reminiscent of psy-trance without becoming too repetitive, he weaves different samples in and out to keep the track progressing. Please check out Invibe Music’s entire release here on their bandcamp.

Kinnection feat Govinda, Wala, Medisin, and FractalEssence

Tribal Council is very pleased to announce our latest installment of our Kinnection series, in Atlanta May 2nd and Asheville May 3rd. This show series will feature the talented artists: Govinda, Wala, Medisin, and FractalEssence. The Kinnection series not only offers music, we also offer yoga, workshops, visionary art, and a lovely community. We focus on the co:creation and appreciation of our growing intelligent light family.

Govinda's Plant the Seed Remixes

Govinda’s Plant the Seed Remixes.

Not only is Govinda an extremely talented musician, but close to our community. Back in September he released his full album Resonance. That fall he went on a pretty extensive tour. He visited the south east, and has been playing around the world since then; from the Great Convergence at the pyramids of Giza to Synthesis in Mexico. Resonance has many songs from Sonic Muse to Plant the Seed. Needless to say Govinda’s show is not something to miss; he plays lyrical gypsy violin solos over intelligent electronic  bass music fused with middle eastern samples. What’s most exciting about the upcoming show is his recent release of his EP Plant the Seed Remixes (available free for download). This album offers remixes by Kraddy, Kaminanda, MiHkal, Nico Luminous, Wala, and may more. One of my favorite remixes is Kaminanda’s take on the song. It is luscious with the perfect amount of remixing done to the original track. Nico Luminous has a very interesting version of the song, it’s very sexy with much more bass. More towards dub step than the original track, yet tastefully done. Please check out the whole album here on Govinda’s soundcloud, and come enjoy him live.

Kalikutta Wala's latest release

Kalikutta, Wala’s latest release.

We are extremely pleased to invite this lovely sound anthropologist, Wala to play for us. She blends world beats, specifically with middle-eastern influence and deep sexy bass. Kalikutta is her most recent release and is packed with an interesting blend of sound. The first track Ik Onkar is hauntingly beautiful. I love the vocal she chose to weave throughout the track; she adds this grimy alien bass as the song really drops. This is definitely my favorite off the release. The whole album is reminiscent of bollywood remixed with dirty bass, please check it out here or on her soundcloud.

Two artists on our lineup are Asheville based! Medisin is a talented artist who makes very psycheldelic glitchy music. While the other is Tribal Council’s very own Clayton Garr as FractalEssence. Medisin has this lovely psytrance feel while using this very galactic sound. Sometimes he turns the tempo up to a breaks style, which will get the dance floor going. He blends the perfect amount of world beats with psytrance. Check his soundcloud for many wonderful mixes. FractalEssence has a knack for picking out the perfect tracks and blending them into intelligent and compassionate sets. Clayton seamlessly weaves many of our favorite artists together into this cohesive set. Please check out his set from Return to Roots on his soundcloud. I was lucky enough to be present with him for this set, and I had such a beautiful time dancing the night away!

FractalEssence @ Tribal Council Campout (4.14.13) by Fractalessence (Clayton Gaar) on Mixcloud

And here is his most recent mix from the Tribal Council Campout.  Be sure to show up early for the yoga class that FractalEssence will be DJing.

Kinnection: Govinda, Wala, Medisin, Fractal EssencePlease check out our facebook event page for more information.

Adham Shaikh’s new release

Adham Shaikh is an intelligent and inspiring musician. With skill he aptly merges west coast bass to ambient soundscapes and many styles in between. Sometimes he is a solo project with drum machines, synths, and ipads; other times he has a ten piece outworld orkestra (a troupe of dancers, artists, and musicians). A couple years ago he released his third album called Universal Frequencies. This album was ground breaking; and consequently remixed albums were created. Refractions universal frequencies remix volume 2 is Adham’s newest release; with mixes by the Desert Dwellers, Tripswitch, Drumspyder, Kaya Project, and many more!

Refractions universal frequencies remixes volume 2

Refractions universal frequencies remixes vol. 2

While you should check out volume one, there are a few songs off his latest album that are notable. Tripswitch’s remix of Rug Rippin’ is eloquent; it keeps the feel of the original song while displaying his own style. It is more down tempo and bassy, but still keeps the clarinet sample from the original song. Another interesting remix is Xopianoi’s take on Desert Dub, again he original feel is kept but now there is a glitchy alien sound added. The Desert Dwellers also chose Desert Dub as their remix. Adding many alluring attributes to the song; like the filter that makes everything sound far away. Kundalini Fuel by Lexifer’s Spiral Dub brings you through an audio journey. This song keeps the middle eastern feel while adding a very electronic alien sound, this remix is more down tempo than the original.

Please visit Adham Shaikh’s bandcamp, this release is being sold as “name your own price”! Another great place to keep up with new releases and ideas is his soundcloud.


Two emerging artists you should know

Recently I found two artists who are extremely talented. Both have a future in the transformational music scene, and are two musicians to keep an eye on!

Embrace the One by Temple Step Project

Embrace the One by Temple Step Project

The first you may know; as they have been around the scene for a little while. Temple Step Project combines the sacred sounds of the middle east with delicious bass music. You may be familiar with their music; the Desert Dwellers mix Temple Step Project’s songs into their mixes often. The sound of their music resonates well with the Desert Dwellers overall soundscape. Recently Temple Step Project came out with a new album called Embrace the One. The album is amazing; with ragas singing, tabala, and sitar woven through electronic bass lines. One of my favorite songs is Truth and Grace. With slow, intricate, sacred music (filled with great ragas singing) paired with a low whompy bass line. This one is sure to teach you how to belly dance. Heart of the Whole is another track I would specifically like to mention, but please listen to the whole album; it is sublime.This track has a very dirty bass line and is a bit more electronic than the others. Please check out Temple Step’s new album Embrace the One here and their soundcloud here.

Afterglow by Mystral

Afterglow by Mystral

Mystral is the other producer I would like to mention. While he is pretty new with his releases, his album Afterglow does not disappoint. Mystral also uses middle eastern samples; but his music is influenced by hip hop. Surface Drop is the first track on the album. He uses a guitar sample in the intro and then the song drops into this heavy whompy bass line. Also mixed in the song, are inviting vocals and a flute that dances above the rest of the song. Stardust is an enthralling track, the song is very alien. His bass lines are always deep, but this track uses a Japanese harp and flute. While this song can make you dance it can also put you into a trance- like state of mind. Please check out the rest of this album here and his souncloud here.

Desert Dwellers and the Kinnection Series

Tribal Council is excited and honored to welcome the Desert Dwellers to our Kinnection series. Supported by The Human Experience and Aligning Minds, these shows are sure to excite ones’ senses. The Kinnection series not only focuses on conscious music, but we offer yoga, workshops, and a tea lounge all to build community and support creativity. Please feel free to read more about our intentions with the Kinnection Series here.

Amani Friend and Treavor Moontribe

Amani Friend and Treavor Moontribe

Composed of the DJs Amani Friend, Treavor Moontribe, and Rara Avis; the Desert Dwellers immerse you in a vibrant, ethnic soundscape. Pioneers and an integral part in the growth of this genre; sacred bass music, or as I like to call it “temple-step.” This genre fuses down-tempo yoga flow with electronic bass beats to make this wonderful ethno-techno sound. Weaving ancient sounds with modern technology the Desert Dwellers are not only pioneers of this genre, but are audio-shamans of our time. Interwoven with flute, sitar, tabala, and bell samples they also add inspirational poetry in some songs. Like the song Spinning out of Nothingness, “we come spinning out of nothingness, scattered like stardust.”

In the beginning this collaboration of musical minds was formed with help of the Moontribe. The Moontribe is a collective in Southern California: known for throwing underground dance gatherings deep in the deserts. We at Tribal Council take inspiration from the Moontribe and similar collectives; connecting community, co:creation, and conscious events.

Desert Dwellers enlightening us with their aural alchemy at Symbiosis 2012

Desert Dwellers enlightening us with their aural alchemy at Symbiosis 2012.

My first experience of The Desert Dwellers live was at Symbiosis 2012 at Pyramid Lake, NV. I was in no way ready for the experience I was about to embark upon. I remember being told by a music enthusiast friend that I NEEDED to see The Desert Dwellers no matter what time they were on. I scoured the schedule and to my slight dismay, found that they were on at seven AM! Dancing the night away seven quickly approached; while my friends disappeared to catch a couple hours of rest before it became blistering hot again. Sleepily I made my way towards the earth stage for the most eye-opening musical experience I have witnessed. Together the three DJs rocked my world infusing middle-eastern beats with deep bass heavy beats. A couple hundred beautiful souls and I welcomed the morning sunrise with dance and praise, swaying to the stunning ethereal music.

Needless to say I am hooked for life, this music is not only perfect for meditation/yoga but is also lively to dance to. To this day they are not only some of my favorite DJs; but a huge inspiration to me and my music. They taught me to strive for the sound and genre I feel in my heart; not to try and fit into a preconceived notion of what a classical singer should do. If you would like to hear the set from Symbiosis, you can find for free download on their souncloud, along with many other sets/mixes. Also please check their bandcamp out for other releases.

The Human Experience and the Kinnection Series

Tribal Council is very excited to welcome The Human Experience, David Block, to our Kinnection series! For those of you who are not sure what our Kinnection series is; Tribal Council does a three night run between Athens, Atlanta, and Ashville. Each night we offer yoga, workshops, a tea lounge, and a show provided by extremely conscious and talented musicians. We are focused on giving back to our commUNITY and supporting co:creation with this series. To read more about what the Kinnection series is about please follow this link. We are very excited for this upcoming run because David Block has been so kind as to not only play a downtempo set for our yoga class, but he is also offering a workshop about sound, melody, & music, as well as his normal set.

Recent release: The art of the way

Recent release: The art of the way

What excites me about The Human Experience is that he is a live electronic act; he plays instruments and composes live. Each album is a live soundscape in which he strives to portray the beauty of the human experience we call life. One of his more recent releases is The Art of the Way. The album starts with one of my favorite songs 11:11:11, it has this sultry dance feel while sharing the feeling of tranquility. More than we Know featuring Amae Love is probably the most famous song off this release. Amae Love has a powerful expressive voice that brings life to this track. Woven into this song is a simple guitar riff that adds depth and melody, and supports Ms. Love wonderfully. The last song I would like to touch upon is Ot Du Shi featuring Mindex. This tune incorporates ethereal vocals and lovely melody. The song about half way through blossoms into a harder crunchy electronic tune. I love the contrast between the two halves of the song and how masterfully he weaves them together to make this exquisite track. This album is free or by donation off bandcamp, please support this talented and exceptional musician. You can also enjoy music off his soundcloud and this link will bring you to his artist page.

Aligning Minds and the Kinnection series

Tribal Council is so excited to be hosting the second instillation of the kinnection series. This is a concert and workshop series that travels between Athens, Asheville, and Atlanta, promoting health and well-being amongst the community. We are more than happy to announce Aligning Minds, The Human Experience, and The Desert Dwellers are our artists for this upcoming run!

Aligning Minds newest release: My Heart is Love

Aligning Minds newest release: My Heart is Love

My Heart is Love is Aligning Minds’ Michael Folk and Daniel Merrill; newest album released on Gravitas Records. This album is beautiful, intelligent, and fun to dance to. The album begins with Streaming Live; with a dark and moody soundscape. The album quickly picks up, one of my favorite songs is A Noble Truth. I love the drum pad in this song, it is so sharp but keeps the song moving. Although the whole album is amazing, the last song I would like to touch upon is Bright Flames. I love that the song begins with ethereal vocals and is rather melancholy. Soon joined by the drum pad; the song develops more of a dance feel. The synth’s melody throughout helps bring the song together, and about halfway through they bring back the vocals. This whole album is put together very well, please listen to all of “My Heart is Love” here, also available for purchase.

We were very lucky to have Aligning Minds give Tribal Council an exclusive interview! We truly appreciate you taking some time out of your day to answer our questions! Thank you.

Laura Koznarek: What excites you about working with Tribal Council on their Kinnection series?
Aligning Minds: I’ve gotten to know the core Tribal Council crew through their presence and contributions at many festivals over the last year. I have nothing but love and good things to say about the people that make up Tribal Council, the work they do at festivals and in their event series. The community that they are building here in Asheville and abroad is by far one of my favorites in the area. Their hearts are in the right place and they have a fantastic vision that radiates throughout the work they do. I really resonate with the Kinnection series as it focuses on a broad spectrum experience, providing education through workshops earlier in the night then moving into meditation / yoga and finally into more movement oriented energy with a focus on music and visual stimulations. It’s a proper formula that I think more events and promoters should take note of. It’s very similar to what we strive to do with the X events that we help organize and throw, so I’m very excited to have Aligning Minds on board for this series!

LK: I see you have an east coast tour coming up! What are you looking forward to with your tour?
AM: We are just excited about getting back out on the road and sharing the music we have been working on. Excited that Matthias Sayour will be joining us on drums for specific dates, his contribution to our project is really expanding our realm of possibilities, so we’re excited to explore that on our travels. Very excited about this run with Desert Dwellers and The Human Experience, as well as the run with Papadosio. We will also be heading out to the West Coast in late April / early May, excited to reconnect with some of our musical family out there!

LK: How was putting together your most recent release? Any challenges? What came easily?
AM: Looking back on the process that went into creating “My Heart Is Love” it was a very natural progression. The whole concept and execution of it was really a working therapy in learning to allow things to become what they are meant to be. The tracks that we ended up including on it were written at various times from 2007-2012 so it’s really a snapshot of various points and states we were in throughout that time period. A lot of them were written and rewritten many times to get them to their current forms. We started choosing tracks to be included around November of 2011 and spent the next year fine tuning them, rewriting, getting the mixdowns right etc., to get them into their final forms. As with any album there were many challenges… I think once we figured out that we are our own biggest roadblock things fell into place quite naturally. I know we put an immense amount of work into each and every track and element on this album, but more than anything we worked harder at opening ourselves up to become a channel through which the music could flow. After that, it kind of finished itself. I think we learned a lot about how unrealistic our own expectations really are. We are both perfectionists when it comes to music and tend to be a little obsessive when it comes to calling something finished and letting it go, which is one of the reasons it took us so long to let go of this material and actually allow it to be released. We have a running joke about banishing tracks to the dark recesses of our hard drives when it’s not good enough. It may sound over the top to some, but this album really helped us get over that. For instance In the Wake of Forever was finished and in its current form over 4 years ago, since then it’s pretty much just sat on our hard drives. Almost like overprotective parents, the music we create becomes very personal and special to us, and sometimes it’s almost painful to share it as it truly bears pieces of our hearts that we don’t know how to communicate in any other way. So yeah, I think overall the album really embodies its name as it has taught us about loving things as they are, knowing when to relinquish control, and allowing the internal flow to the external.  Surrendering to this has allowed the true essence of the music to emerge and begin to radiate outward. One of my good friends once told me we can only go as fast as the music will allow, and I think that’s very true and has certainly held true in our experience with this release.

LK: How is working with Gravitas?
AM: Gravitas has been amazing, we feel very fortunate and honored to be working with them and have such a dedicated team behind us. One of the best things about it so far is the level of transparency that they give you as an artist.  It truly feels like we are all working together to make things happen –  they are there when you need them, but don’t try to interfere or make the music conform to any vision of their own. It’s been a breath of fresh air to say the least and we look forward to working with them as things progress. They just put out the new Goldrush album which I highly encourage checking out, he’s been one of my personal favorite artists for the last few years. It’s a beautiful thing to come together under one roof with people who inspire and encourage each other to move forward. Between Gravitas and Re:Evolution Media, we feel perfectly at home and excited about our team and affiliations.

LK: You constantly incorporate new musicians into the ensemble, how does that change your music?
AM: It helps keep things interesting. The people we incorporate are usually artists that happen to be in our lives and around us at the time. We’re constantly working on music and tend to surround ourselves with other musicians, instrumentalists, vocalists etc. It’s usually a pretty natural result of hanging out with another musician(s), playing around with an inspiring idea and vibing on it together, then recording their input or reaction.  Sometimes that will turn into a tune, simple as that… but alot of the time those recordings get re-interpreted and work their way into multiple ideas in the future.  After a while, there’s a resource built up of expressions, personalities and visions from all these people that have come into our lives and inspired us. More recently, endless possibilities and opportunities are opening up thanks to the addition of Matthias Sayour as the drummer and beat maestro for Aligning Minds. Matthias is one of the best drummers we’ve ever met, he really gets our music and knows when to go all out and when to just lay low and add flavor. We’ve worked with a few different drummers in the past and he is by far the most on point and honed in individual we’ve had the pleasure of working with, a true ancient beat shaman both on the kit and in his daily life.

LK: Who inspires you/your musical influences?
AM: We get asked this a lot and it becomes harder and harder to answer each time. Haha, alot of our influence honestly comes from everyday life, our sons/family, experiences, nature, books, conversation, music we find, film , the internet, etc. Living in such an abundant and beautiful world coupled with the amount of information, technology, art and music that is immediately available at our fingertips, it’s really hard to not be continually inspired these days, almost overwhelmingly so.

Musically, artists such as Leftfield, Orbital, Aphex Twin, Sasha, Tipper, Milosh, Polar, Prefuse 73, Boards of Canada, Telefon Tel Aviv, Ochre, Ulrich Schnauss, Hybrid, Shpongle etc. all played major roles early on. I could keep listing but you probably get the idea… we are just into anything that is ‘deep’ – explorative, melodic, ethereal, experimental or just plain weird. Currently it’s our friends and peers that are inspiring us the most musically, everyone on our agency @ Re:Evolution Media, our label mates at Gravitas, the artists we are fortunate enough to work with and share the stage with…That’s where we seem to be pulling the majority of our inspiration from these days.

LK: How do you find yourselves working into this new transformational festival scene?
AM: I think it’s a pretty natural fit for us. It feels like the reality of the “scene” is finally merging with what we have always envisioned is possible. Life isn’t just about 1 thing – whether it be music, art, spirituality, etc. Life is a full spectrum experience and that’s how events should be too. We see these festivals and temporal societies as experiments in moving towards more permanent living communities and feel like we are personally learning how to share our gifts and talents with the collective whole, in hopes of creating a sustainable reality for ourselves, our families and our community. We are all in this together, and we’re in love with the fact that every year this becomes more and more prevalent at the events we attend and play. I think we have a lot to contribute to the movement and I also think we have a lot to learn from it. We’re honestly just genuinely excited to be here and to have the opportunity to be involved.

LK: I love the intention and intelligence behind your music and beats, and I see in your biography that it says “All ideals aside, this is music from the imaginations, hearts and souls of producers who want to use music to unite people and assist in positive growth and change.” Could you talk a little bit about your vision with Tribal council?
AM: Tribal Council is a perfect example of the type of intention-based collective we initially envisioned being a part of when we started Aligning Minds. A melding of spirit, art, music, education, technology and action in an ever expanding community. When we imagined and conceived of Aligning Minds, our original vision was to create music that in itself would create an experience of truth, connectedness, unity, peace, understanding and growth. We had this intuition that if this was accomplished, it would attract a synergetic energy in many forms that would perpetuate it, tying it into an infinitely larger picture.  Seeing how true that is and continues to be is a beautifully thing to watch unfold. There is this major sense of actualization occurring right now that is growing in frequency at an almost contagious rate all over the world.  People are getting involved and really making things happen in order to realize this beautiful and inherent vision that seems to be awakening inside all of us.  So it’s quite an honor and a pleasure to be involved with collectives like Tribal Council who are actively creating this reality that is a powerful amalgamation of it’s working parts.  We’re just happy to be able to be one of those working parts that can serve this greater whole.

LK: How has your style developed since you first started Aligning minds?               AM:That’s a great question; our style has definitely come a long way since we started producing Aligning Minds material in 2003/2004, but overall our style as a whole has remained pretty similar. . Dan has always had more of a taste for faster, groove oriented stuff – and I have always been fond of the more experimental, idm, downtempo glitch sorts of vibes. We’ve always tried to find ways to fuse our tastes together into something new and unique that makes the most of the diversity we both bring to the table.  I think that stands true today as well, although as we both individually grow and develop over time the differences are sometimes more recognizable than others. It’s a constant growing process of embracing and utilizing that. Over the years we gain more of a sense of what Aligning Minds “sounds like”.  Although often we seem to like to rebel! Or try anyway, haha. Our tracks definitely have more cohesion and convey more of a story now, just a bit more realized I think. Our production quality has also evolved thanks to experience and also the evolution of the tools we use. I think playing out live and being involved in the ‘EDM’ scene over the years has given us more incentive to write material that has the potential to get a crowd moving as well. We definitely think about the dancefloor a bit more often now, although we never limit ourselves to it. I think we will always stay pretty rooted in creating head, heart and soul music.

LK: What other exciting projects are you working on?
AM:We have a lot in the queue; release wise we have a steady flow of remixes that we are working on that will be coming out at various times this year.  We’re working to put together a follow-up remix album of “My Heart is Love” featuring some of our favorite fellow producers, as well as another EP or two later this year.  We’ll also be doing some more events in and around Asheville, including another XAVL event, and will be contributing work to a charity cause through an organization called Groupees, along with Desert Dwellers and Random Rab.  Oh, and some official music videos are under way.  All that should keep us busy for a while! :)

LK: Where do you see your music/band in five years?
AM: We try not to look too far ahead, we just strive to be present in what we’re doing now or in the pretty near future… Five years is a long time! :) For us, even though having goals, ideals and a vision for the future can be helpful, we work best when we just let things unfold.  Staying in the flow. We intend to continue putting out music first and foremost – a steady stream of releases, collaborations and remixes are taking shape for 2013.  We’re also taking steps to take our live performance to the next level and are starting to work with some live visual designers to map out a proper stage / projection mapped system. The primary thing holding us back right now is funding, but once that hurdle is removed we can make that happen. Incorporating a live 3D projection mapped stage environment to create an immersive visual environment for the audience is intuitively the next step. Generally we’re interested in exploring new ways to create a perceptual experience that inspires new visions and realities in the perceiver. We would also like to create a portal for people to submit their own visions into the environment, such as user submitted video content.

They leave us with a truly poignant quote: “Truly fertile Music, the only kind that will move us, that we shall truly appreciate, will be a Music conducive to Dream, which banishes all reason and analysis. One must not wish first to understand and then to feel. Art does not tolerate Reason.” – Albert Camus