Matthew's Yoga Music, Volume 5
2010 / Dolce & Nuit Productions
Review by Kathy Parsons
Matthew’s Yoga Music, Volume 5 is the fifth of an eight-volume set of improvised piano music intended for yoga, massage therapy, and/or “your own personal times of reflection and contemplation.” Each album consists of four 15-minute segments that are different enough for focused listening as well as for background music and the activities listed above. Each segment has its own kind of energy, making each track and each album unique. The only sound added to the (digital) piano is “harmony ball texture,” which is very similar to light wind chimes or tiny bells. This sound has been more prominent in the other volumes I’ve reviewed so far, but is featured in all of the tracks and creates a soothing, relaxing effect. All four of the pieces on Volume 5 have frequent short breaks in the music that are intended for yoga instructors to use, and the light chime sounds provide continuity as part of the music in those open spaces.
Track one suggests the feeling of moving forward with a sense of purpose. It has a strong energy and is dramatic and powerful in places. There are quite a few quiet passages in this piece, allowing for variations in the themes and changes of mood. The main theme, which is introduced at the beginning of the segment, weaves in and out of the full length of the piece. Track two is much quieter and more meditative. It begins with a series of short musical phrases that are followed by open spaces of a few seconds (and the sound of the harmony ball texture). As the piece evolves, several of these phrases get longer in duration and are quite melodic as well as deeply emotional. Track three follows a similar format, but is somewhat more energetic. This one is kind of broken up for listening to attentively, but there is plenty of opportunity for yoga instructors to talk! The last segment is darker and more melancholy and is often quite dramatic. Melodic in some passages and ambient in others, it’s an interesting and affecting piece.
Matt Johnson offers all of his recordings and sheet music as free downloads on his website. The recordings are also for sale on Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby.
August 12, 2019