On the packaging of the new album, ATMA BHAKTI, by Manish Vyas, it says, “These pieces are an invitation to let go, to forget time and space, to decelerate from the outer world, fuse with existence, and simply just ‘be’.” So be it. This music is a spacey head-trip, body-trip and spiritual journey. You can sit and listen and enjoy the music, or you can put it on and meditate, or you can use it to accompany an inner spiritual exploration where you look for guidance, ask for forgiveness or check your chakras. It’s your trip so craft the ride that works best for you.
The music has elements of India (where Manish Vyas is from) such as some singing and mantra chanting in the ancient Sanskrit language, some Indian instruments such as the swar-mandal and the tanpura, and Buddhist bells and gongs. But there also is the universally accessible and beloved sound of a bamboo wood flute and also the sounds of modern electronic keyboards. The recording is comprised of the 30-minute first track “Atma” which means “soul or the divine” and is based on the mantra “mangalam.” Manish says, “There is a very meditative atmosphere in the music.” The second 30-minute tune is “Bhakti” which means “devotion or worship” and is based on the mantra “shivaya namaha om.” “This track is dedicated to Lord Shiva,” explains Manish. The final track is the five-minute multi-voice “Vedic Chanting,” which Vyas says “is a very powerful form of chanting done in India by the priests or as a group ritual or prayer.” Unlike regular chant albums where everything is focused on the voice, this album weaves the voice parts in various places on each of the two long pieces so that those sections are simply like another instrument taking over for a minute or two.
Listening to this music you can get a profound sense of well-being. It is “feel-good music” in an unusual sense, not as party music, but as soulful uplifting, spirit-ascending music. Now that is a ride worth taking.