Artist: Lux Moderna & Dubvirus
Album: Opening the Pentagram
Let’s lay it out on the table: downtempo, melodic, electronic bass music with devotional chanting.
It’s all too easy to dismiss terms like these – at best, they’re vague descriptors (musically speaking), and at worst can evoke a certain brand of new age-iness that many can’t help but find repugnant. Nevertheless, I’m here to identify an album with precisely this set of terms. In addition, I’m here to say that it’s well worth your time if you have an interest in yoga that extends beyond ‘gramming #livelovelaugh-captioned selfies designed to artfully display your latest purchase of $200 leggings.
Opening the Pentagram is a collection of tracks featuring yogic mantras, delivered by vocalist and electronic producer Lux Moderna in collaboration with producer Dubvirus. Crash course incoming: the term ‘mantra’ refers to the hymn portions of the Vedas, which are Hindu sacred texts composed in Sanskrit. Passages of mantra are used in various aspects of meditation and yoga for purposes spiritual development, with one such usage being singing or melodic chanting – often in groups and with instrumental accompaniment.
Look, I don’t claim to be an expert on any of this, although I do have a personal interest in the subject, which is probably what drew me to this album in the first place. Having been playing it as background music for all manner of activities over the past several years, I have reason to argue that it stands up to some pretty heavy-duty repeat listening; in fact, time continues to expand my appreciation of this unusual and subculturally interesting recording.
The melodic bass compositions underlying each track, together with the vocals, are equal parts energising and chill, generating a sense of positivity while somehow managing to keep it cool. My seasoned cheese detector mechanism has to work hard to find much stink in the mix. While readers of this site may know that my listening tastes are not averse to a bit of fine cheese, this album is like a glass of sparkling water – pure, chill and transparent.
In short, it’s a deeply refreshing piece of work. I’m aware that there are those who’ll write it off as repetitive or even monotonous, but you’d be hard pressed to describe it as dry or lifeless. Hydrate yourself here.