Reviews

Sonic Seasonings, Andrew J. Ligon III, Online Group Editor, Natural Land

Listening to music is often one's way of detaching from the stress and aggravation that is part and parcel of living in these pre-millennial days. Composer Charles Sorgie, a certified Bikram Yoga College of India instructor, has put together “odysseys into alpha,” a four volume set of CDs that are tailor-made for said detachment, and that can be used for plain old relaxing or for use by professional yoga and Tai Chi teachers, massage therapists, hypnotherapy, modern dance, and other bodywork protocols.

Sorgie’s music induces an alpha state in the listener, a relaxed but very aware brain state. He composed and performed all the music in the alpha state, which has an immediate effect on the listener.

This approach to composing lends a distinctly compelling quality to the sounds he creates that are a breed apart from the usual New Age music that is often monochromatic flutes playing boring scales. Sorgie's style is more like sonic acupuncture that relies on synthesizer-based tones augmented by organic samples of gongs, oboes, sitars, french horns, and guitars.

Each of the CDs have a central tonal theme which, over the course of the 45-minute duration, takes the listener on an introspective journey that changes each time one listens.

Tranquility is the most unobtrusive of the four, probably best used for massage sessions and yoga / Tai Chi workouts. Namasté is the brightest of the lot, best heard in the morning for inspiration and purpose of thought. I of the Storm could be considered “ambient” in its weightless dissertation of deep space textures. Prana is also unobtrusive in its circular droning waveforms which simultaneously center one's thoughts whilst describing a universe without boundaries. This one is the least rhythmic and best used for Tai Chi sessions and intimacy.

Overall, Sorgie has created a unified aural theory in Odysseys Into Alpha which actually do produce profound changes in one's attitudes and outlook. Upon repeated listenings, new subtleties and nuances are discerned in the layers of sounds and tones which make each listening a new experience. Highly recommended for anyone looking to charge up their neurons for what is most surely going to be an interesting millennium.


David K. Shute, Benedictine Sounding Center

In his four disc series, Charles Sorgie presents a full range of sonic energy experiences, taking you from stillness to togetherness to wonderment to enlivenment.

As the name suggests, these discs produce alpha waves and states in abundance. All four discs consist primarily of synthesizer music. Many of the instrumental voices are recognizable as string bass or flute or organ, but the sound wave qualities are those of the synthesizer. This makes it very easy to listen to these discs and just as easy to let the mind wander off into whatever garden it cares to explore. This is particularly helpful in shutting off the interior dialogue, a critical element in any meditation technique.

These discs are ideal for guided imagery and breath work. While each does have a particular character and different overall impact, all four are sufficiently ambient to allow for narrative.

Practitioners of reiki, neuromuscular massage therapy, acupuncture or energy healing will want to listen to each disc carefully, as each has very different emotional and energy flow impacts. Because of the full spectrum presented, it should be possible to use each disc to produce quite different effects in clients.

Tranquility: On this disc, Sorgie uses many of the lower frequency ranges to ground the listener to the first and second chakras. Its tempos trend and tend and flow like a slow river toward a slow heart beat. The upper ranges - fourth, fifth and sixth chakras, are touched but not resonated and definitely not entrained, as are the first, second, and to some extent third.

Emotionally, this disc is largely neutral, with perhaps a tendency toward the calmly upbeat. Like the name, the overall effect of this disc is to quiet the nerves, still the inner voice and ground you to a place of stillness. You could fall into a state of wakeful dreaming under the right conditions.

This is a good “entrance” experience. Use it to help clear away the circumstances and thoughts that may have followed you into the place where you are now.

Namasté: Here, Sorgie is aiming for the heart. The melodies are slightly melancholy, the predominate voice the oboe. The vibrations reside largely in the third, fourth and fifth chakras, with long waves of low frequency grounding. The emotional content of this disc is very strong, inviting you into reveries about warm feelings. This fills the body with warmth and feelings of safety. The music generally softens any edges, both in the emotional state and in the energy body.

The warmth and together-flowing of this disc makes it suitable for tantric meditation or exercises. Several sections present very long rhythmic flows, like tides, which encourage new coloration in feeling. The long rhythms and emotional tides make this an excellent sound track for dance movement.

Unlike Tranquility, it is difficult to listen with indirect attention to this music, because of the strong vibrations in the heart and throat constantly pulling your emotions into the sound progression. This would be fine music for sharing with a group of people, with whom you wanted to create a zone of shared warmth and openness to Another.

I of the Storm: Unlike the other three, this disc begins with action and ambient energy, stirring the blood and energy flows, rather than smoothing or lowering them. You enter a full blown rainstorm environment, with thunder and downpour and all the white noise associated with a heavy rain.

Sorgie continually awakens with arhythmic attack and decay, predominately of strings, like a guitar or mandolin, overlaying flute, like rays of sunlight in the thunderous sky. Eventually the flutes and chimes take over, moving the fifth, sixth and seventh chakras to enliven and entrain.

I of the Storm is awakening music, dawn after the dark storm. Emotionally, you are invited to experience beauty, wonder and awe. You might use it to awaken people after the calming experience of Tranquility, to get them to talk, express themselves. After the initial rainstorms, you could also lead people in a long vocalization, that begins in the lower chakras and ascends along with the general tone of the music.

Prana: This disc gets under your conscious thinking immediately. Sorgie produces big low frequency waves, overtoned with flute, waking up all seven chakras, with a strong grounding in the first. The sounds are much more direct and kinetic, connecting more directly to the energy flow, the chi, or prana, within you than the other discs. Listen to this disc directly or indirectly; either way, you will find yourself feeling more awake, more enlivened, afterwards. You will come away thinking “something just happened there.”

Emotionally, Prana invites the listener to be active, to enjoy the positive, to adopt a posture of forward thinking. You are invited to be awake and alive and centered and present while at the same time not rippled or troubled with energy waves that have no place to go or no connection to the larger, grounding vibration of your being.

This is a good “closing” environment, setting up a positive outlook to take away from the experience. Once the person is awakened and present, you might then find a mantra or other note that reinforces and recalls the positive mindset created by Prana.


How Music Heals, Dan Carter, Moonsong Music Company

Since ancient times, sound and music has been used as a powerful tool for healing, a means of communication, and a way to lift the human spirit and access deeper states of consciousness. The singing bowls and mysterious overtone chanting of the Tibetan monks, the deeply spiritual mantras and ragas of India were not mere musical entertainment. They were used to bring about deep relaxation and heightened states of awareness.

The traditional peoples of Africa, the Aboriginals of Australia, the Balinese, the Native American Indians and the ancient Celts all used drumming, songs and ritual dances to bring the rain, the sun, a bountiful harvest, successful hunting and good health. The shamans of these cultures used the power of sound and music in ceremonies which evoked altered states, tapped into the collective wisdom and allowed communication with the spirit world.

So it is today, in our stressed and busy world, we are again turning to music as a means to heal and relax our lives. People in all walks of life, of all ages, are listening to music specifically designed to harmonize and heal. Todays musicians often combine a broad knowledge of ancient world musical traditions with a more scientific understanding of how music and sound can be precisely applied to effect the body, the brain and the consciousness. Futurists are predicting that the vibrations of music and sound will be a primary healing modality of the future.

Today, massage therapists, bodyworkers, psychotherapists and healers of all sorts can choose from a tremendous variety of music that will bring their clients into a state of ease and help the healing process, music like that of Ray Lynch, Charles Sorgie, Rob Whiteside-Woo, Stephen Halpern, Kitaro, Daniel Kobialka and Patrick Bernhardt. Hospitals have found that music played during operations and in the recovery rooms helps create a better environment for healing. Acupuncturists have begun using Chinese healing music such as that of the Shanghai Chinese Traditional Orchestra as a perfect accompaniment to their work. Reiki practitioners now have a whole selection of music, such as that of Ajad and Merlin's Magic, which is particularly suited to this gentle energy work. The music of people like Brent Lewis and Gabriel Roth contributes powerful and earthy rhythms to be used in breathwork and shamanic processes. And individual music lovers are discovering a wide selection of music recordings, some with subliminal suggestions, which are an aid to meditation, sleeping, stress relief, learning, alcohol recovery and more.

The more scientific music researchers have found that by using certain exact frequencies, it is possible to make profound changes in brain wave patterns. The high-tech application of music and patterned frequencies is rooted in the scientific understanding that there is a direct relationship between brain waves and states of consciousness. For example, specific brain wave patterns are associated with enhanced learning ability, creativity, and increased dreaming. Balancing the hemispheres of the brain helps to expand the capacities of our mind and, according to some healing procedures, is essential as a preliminary step in any healing. Dr. Jeffrey Thompson, Peter Mandel, Jim Oliver and Don Campbell are some of the leaders in this field of scientifically developed music therapies.

Many of the musicians who are creating the healing music of today have been using meditation techniques in their own lives for years. The music they create comes out of their meditation. (Editor's Note: Charles Sorgie is a certified Bikram's Yoga College of India instructor. ) That quality of meditation in the music can help the listener to go deeper into their own silence. For example, listen to the music of Deuter, Kamal, Prem Joshua, Karunesh, Anugama, and Abhi Ktori. One can hear the influences of various ancient spiritual traditions in the work of these and other similar composers. The beautiful native American flutes of Carlos Nakai and Douglas Spotted Eagle, the resonant shakuhachi flute of Tani Senzan and the blissful Indian flute of Hari Prasad all provide a powerful backdrop to meditation It is also truly a gift today that many musicians and spiritual teachers are collaborating in musical efforts. For example, guitarist Bruce Becvar and Dr. Deepak Chopra have created a series of recordings based on the Ayervedic principles of healing. Theirs is truly a world music that can heal the people and the planet.

The musician, Deuter has said, “You will experience the best healing results when you open up to listen not just with your physical ears, but when you start to feel the vibration of the music with your whole body and spirit.” So, we invite you to explore the healing power of music and sound. Whether you are in the healing professions and would like to make your work even more graceful and effective, or you just want music to dance to, to relax with or to take you to deeper states of consciousness on your own healing, journey, there is much to choose from, lots to enjoy…one world, so much music.