Listen to a selection of unreleased excerpts from Laraaji's voluminous back catalogue, with short annotations by the artist. Laraaji is featured in an article by Greg Tate in The Wire 358.
|01 M.B.I.R.A (excerpt)||0:01:24|
|02 Sol Part Four (excerpt)||0:05:13|
|03 Tilturn (excerpt)||0:02:14|
|04 White Light Part Three (excerpt)||0:05:39|
|05 Laws Of Manifestation (excerpt)||0:03:00|
|06 New Laughter Mode (excerpt)||0:05:00|
|07 A Cave In England (excerpt)||0:02:06|
|08 Om Tryumbacum||0:00:55|
|09 Space Choir (excerpt)||0:04:18|
"Think cosmically, act locally" sings Laraaji in his "Laws Of Manifestation" track. Born Edward Larry Gordon, Laraaji studied composition and choir in the early 1960s before moving to New York City and becoming a stand-up comic. Laraaji regularly performed music around NYC, singing and playing guitar in a variety of West Village pop, country and folk hootenannies, until in the early 70s he discovered autoharps and dulcimers, He relates an epiphany he had in 1974 to Greg Tate:
“As I was getting into the zither I had what I call a full blown paranormal hearing experience that is or was of a cosmic orchestra of brass instruments weaving this glorious textural sound. The emotional energy of that experience was like a celestial homecoming, as if all the universe was coming together in one present moment, vibrating, singing, swinging, chanting. It was the highest possible experience of eternity, of simultaneity, of the power of the present moment. It came when I was spending long hours meditating and experimenting with herb, tai chi and mind science – a way of changing your thoughts and beliefs through repeating a series of affirmations."
Influenced by Coltrane, Miles Davis, Steven Halpern, Sun Ra and Terry Riley, Laraaji became active playing in New York State ashrams and busking on the streets and in the parks of New York City. In the summer of 1979, while busking in Washington Square Park, Brian Eno heard him playing and asked him to a studio session. The result was Day Of Radiance, the third instalment in Eno's Ambient series.
Laraaji has since spent time performing on the American meditation and yoga centre network, released numerous cassettes and CD-Rs (excerpts from which are above), conducting his laughter meditation workshops, and continues to busk.
(Blues Control remix 2013 - from a forthcoming 12" release)
"Cacophony, ELECTRONICS,PITCH SHIFTED MBIRA/COLLAB"
"Sol Part Four"
from Sol (cassette 1987)
"VOCAL(chant over dub vocals JAI SHIVA), hammered stopped zither, synthesiser drone and chimes. Cassette,/ SOLO. Eastern, gamalan feel. Ecstatic chant"
(Sun Araw remix 2013 - from forthcoming 12" release)
"w/Audio Active crazy mix of material from original AA album"
"White Light Part Three"
from White Light Music (cassette 1986)
"SOLO ELECTRIC MODAL ZITHER
FREE HAND PLUCK,WASHES....EFX REVERB,CHORUS
"Laws Of Manifestation"
from Vision Songs (cassette 1984)
"Vocal, Casio mt 70 electric keyboard 1984. Good"
"New Laughter Mode"
live recording in Japan 1986
"Good trippy laughter and cosmic guidance"
"A Cave In England" (Bee Mask remix 2013 - from forthcoming 12" release)
"Synth percussion bell tone, rhythmic bass and synth, on the gentle side,
Over orig mix... Nice high synth sound, rain stick sound."
from Vision Songs (cassette 1984)
"Space Choir" (Motion Sickness Of Time Travel remix 2013 - from forthcoming 12" release)
Celestial Music, Essence/ Universe and Two Sides Of Laraaji are released by All Saints.