Matthew’s Yoga Music, Volume 8
is the last volume in a series of albums by pianist/composer Matt Johnson that feature 60 minutes of improvised piano music. This album is solo (digital) piano plus the occasional sounds of “harmony ball texture” (which sounds like delicate wind chimes) and is intended for yoga practice, massage therapy, “or for your own personal times of reflection & contemplation.” I usually think of yoga music as being ethereal and ambient, which this music is not (mostly). While it is often quiet and contemplative, Johnson’s music also has plenty of substance, melody, and emotional expression. So, I would add that the album is also very suitable for pure listening enjoyment.
The album is divided into four 15-minute segments and each is distinctive in its own way. Matt Johnson offers all of his recorded music as free downloads from his website (www.mattjohnsonmusic.com
), so you can try it out risk-free!
The album’s first segment begins with the sound of what could be light wind chimes tinkling in a gentle breeze. The piano comes in shortly with a very open, simple intro that leads into a series of somewhat more complex themes that flow from one to the next without breaking the serene mood. The second segment also begins with the sparkling chimes before the piano enters with a series of chords that travel freely up and down the piano keyboard, often with open spaces between the passages. The third segment is my favorite. More melodic, mysterious and dramatic, I find this one hauntingly beautiful and easy to get lost in. The last few minutes are powerful and give the closing moments a feeling of triumph before quieting at the end. The fourth segment is also melodic and colorful with a steady, flowing quality. Warm as well as reflective, it seems to look inward - especially in the middle section - calming and soothing as it goes. During the last few minutes, the piece becomes more intense and passionate but is always very beautiful as well as inspiring.
I’m very much looking forward to reviewing the rest of this series (I’m working from the last volume to the first) by Matt Johnson. As I mentioned earlier, all of Johnson’s recordings are available as free downloads from his website, and they are also available for sale on Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby.