Favorite Icon, Full size
Album Review: Out of Doors
Cover image of the album Out of Doors by Bodhiheart
Out of Doors
2023 / Blue Yarn Records
68 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Out of Doors is the second album from Bodhiheart and features piano improvisations by Wells Hanley combined with the work of field recordist and producer Matt Wyatt. I have listened to and reviewed a lot of very relaxing music over the past 25 years, but I have to say that this is one of the most soothing and calming albums I've heard. The core intention of the album was "to provide a spacious and heart-centered sonic environment that encourages contemplation, renewal, and healing" and I would say that the two artists have outdone themselves in that regard! Subtitled "Meditations for Piano and Nature," the music is very free, open and contemplative and while the nature sounds play a very big part in the music, they don't overwhelm or dominate. One of things I especially like about the album is that the music doesn't seem to be directing the listener in what to think or feel - it is more of an invitation to open up and allow thoughts and feelings to flow. You won't find any pianistic pyrotechnics in Out of Doors, but it is a place of warmth and comfort as well as an opportunity to escape the stress and craziness of life for an hour or so. It doesn't get much better than that!

The two artists began their collaboration over a shared love of poetry - especially the poetry of Rumi. Quoting Wells Hanley: "Rumi wrote about the ecstasy of being in nature, or in the presence of a loved one, or anywhere just beyond the noise of the world, in communion with the Self. Each of the improvisations on this album was recorded after a period of meditation and came out of the profound silence which is both utterly still and joyously ecstatic."

Although Out of Doors is the second album from Bodhiheart, the artists are far from rookies in the music industry! Wells Hanley has worked for periods of time as a rock drummer, a classical pianist, a jazz improvisor and a songwriter. He has collaborated with such music luminaries as Dave Matthews, Wynton Marsalis, and Betty Carter's Jazz Ahead and has a vocal coaching and accompanying business in NYC. Wells has performed for audiences all over the US and Europe, has recorded extensively, and has worked as an arranger on Broadway musicals. He also has a new podcast called I Wrote This Song For You where he interviews people whose lives and stories have inspired him to write songs for them.

Matt Wyatt is a producer, composer, poet and mixing engineer who grew up fascinated by free jazz improvisation, field recordings, percussion and poetry; his work beautifully combines those passions. He has worked as a performing drummer and percussionist for more than twenty years. Matt has also recorded under his own name featuring his compositions, songwriting and field recordings. On Out of Doors, he also plays Moog synthesizer.

Out of Doors is the perfect antidote for the anger, frustration and fear that seems to be bouncing all around us these days - an easy-to find place of peace and beauty whenever you want or need it. It is available from Bandcamp as a CD or download. It is also available from Amazon and streaming sites including Spotify. Highly recommended!
January 28, 2023