Matthew’s Yoga Music, Volume 1
is the first of an eight-volume series of one hour recordings of improvised piano music intended for yoga practice, massage therapy and/or “your own personal times of reflection and contemplation.” I’ve listened to and reviewed the full series, and I can add that each album is also well-suited to a work environment or as background music for a variety of activities, and that the music is often melodic and substantial enough for more focused listening. All eight volumes feature solo (digital) piano and harmony ball texture, a lovely ambient sound that’s much like delicate wind chimes. Each album is made up of four 15-minute segments and each is a bit different from the others in mood and/or intensity. Quite a few of the segments have pauses in the music that allow yoga instructors to speak (if desired). The harmony ball texture sound continues in those passages, keeping the flow and continuity of the music (and reducing the need to look at the clock!). A real bonus is that Matt Johnson offers all of his recordings and sheet music as free downloads from his website, so it won’t cost you anything to give it a try!
Track 1 is actually quite dramatic in sections. It begins with the light tinkling of the “wind chimes” before the piano enters with a gentle flourish. The first theme is very peaceful with a steady tempo and a beautiful, serene melody. Very gradually, Johnson adds more intensity, rhythm and depth to the piece, creating a lovely ebb and flow that continues through the first half of the track. The middle of the piece is actually very quiet and then switches gears a bit to become darker and more pensive before returning to a more passionate first theme. I really like this one!
Track 2 again opens with the “wind chimes.” When the piano begins, it is very free and ambient, moving at a relaxed, flowing tempo. About five minutes in, the tempo evens out and the piece becomes more melodic and melancholy. As it evolves, the piece is sometimes free and spontaneous and sometimes more structured, staying on the poignant side throughout. I really like this one, too!
Track 3 is very open and easy-going with a simple thematic phrase that weaves in and out. At about nine minutes, the tone darkens as the rhythm becomes steadier, creating feelings of mystery and movement. Very beautiful!
Track 4 is the smoothest and most melodic of the four segments. An assortments of moods are expressed, but this one doesn’t get as intense or dramatic as the other three until the last minutes or so of the track.
Matthew’s Yoga Music
is a fascinating series! As I mentioned, you can download all of Matt Johnson’s recordings and sheet music from www.MattJohnsonMusic.com
for free (or a donation). It is also available for sale on Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby.