2 Surrender (9:47)
3 Encounter (15:59)
4 Focus (11:11)
5 Vision (9:51)
Limited edition of 1000
Byron Metcalf and Mark Seelig join forces again to focus and intensify the transformative power of their musical collaboration.
Tav Sparks, (author and director of Grof Transpersonal Training) says: “With Intention Byron Metcalf and Mark Seelig have created an irresistibly powerful, aesthetic synthesis of indigenous sources and trans-cultural trance with a mesmerizing urban shamanic pulse. This CD is proof that the rhythms and sounds of the ages can be translated with respect, grace, and skill to support a broad spectrum of transformational practices, including breathwork, dance, and any modern framework celebrating journeys into expanded states of awareness.”
Intention is a totally acoustic, transcultural tour de force of multi-layered tribal-ambient rhythms, indigenous instruments, and mesmerizing soundscapes – expertly crafted to induce and support expanded states of consciousness. Byron’s potent and spellbinding drumming and percussion merge with Mark’s haunting and beautiful bansuri flutes and Tuvan-style throat singing to create a bold, larger-than-life journey into infinite possibilities. Rob Thomas (Inlakesh) and Dashmesh Khalsa contribute aboriginal didgeridoo textures to further deepen and expand the sonic field.
Neuroscience has confirmed what shamanic and ancient spiritual traditions have known for thousands of years: intention plays a fundamental role in manifesting inner and outer reality. This is especially important for those involved in deep inner-work, visionary rituals, ceremonies and practices.
Intention is infused with steadfast power and authority while the listener is held and supported by the tempered and refined sensitivity and compassion of Byron and Mark’s unparalleled understanding of expanded states of consciousness. Over 3 decades of self-exploration, professional therapeutic and academic work serves as foundational substrate for these artists’ uniquely innovative musical approach. Byron and Mark have recorded 3 previous CDs: Wachuma’s Wave (2003), Mantram (2004) and Nada Terma (2008) – all of which were created in collaboration with tribal ambient-electronic pioneer Steve Roach.
For this album, the listener is invited to set an intention before the journey begins, and surrender into an incomparable audio-initiated encounter with the primordial and the ecstatic: the vision of authentic communion within the source of all reality. Explore and experience the breadth and depth of intention in this ground-breaking, utterly original sonic synthesis of tribal/ambient/world music!
Release date June 10, 2014
Reviews Editor –
Even if I take my tribal-ambient-loving thumb off the scale, Intention would still be one of the most potent pieces of medicine music I’ve ever heard. Consider what’s here: deep, soul-shaking shamanic drumming from Byron Metcalf; overtone throat signing and bansuri flute from Mark Seelig; and a double-pronged didgeridoo attack from Rob Thomas of Inlakesh and Dashmesh Khalsa, who has worked on previous Metcalf outings, including Dream Tracker. If there was such a thing as a tribal-ambient supergroup, this would be a mighty fine start. As always, Metcalf wastes no time in bringing the listener in. The title track is a 22-minute voyage that crawls quietly into your head and takes up residence. Each element then slips into place. The frame drum thumps, Seelig’s dual-toned exhalations craft the atmosphere, the whispering song of the flute calms, and the smoky curl of the didgeridoos gives us ground. The rhythm takes hold within the first few minutes, bringing your breathing in line. The mix of didg and voice create a drone-like through-line that settles and focuses your mind so that you’re ready to give over to the journey. This blend creates the perfect ongoing equation on Intention, and the effect is heightened and deepened by Metcalf’s excellent sense of pacing. The five pieces here build in intensity and energy, then slide down into a brief cool-off zone. You’ll feel it firmly at the end of “Surrender” when almost all sound drops out except for the flute. For me, there is an almost tactile snap as I am set momentarily adrift. The best part is knowing that it’s about to start up again.
When there is energy on Intention, there is plenty of it to spare. I love the juxtaposition of Metcalf’s frenetic drumming in “Focus” against the slithering drones and soft flute. Another aspect of the equation is creating moments where where all the elements are in play and the mix is deep and we are lost within it, and we are suddenly dropped into a few moments where the sound is pared way back. There’s a killer passage around the 5:40 mark of “Encounter” where we are left alone with the drum, big and hard-struck and pure, before an absolute bestial snarl of didg pushes in. Say hi to your inner animal for me when this one lands. When these drop-away moments come, we feel the release, and then we feel the music reclaiming hold and building back up again, and the transitions are expertly navigated and incredibly powerful. What’s amazing is that everything happening here is acoustic. On past outings, such as Wachuma’s Wave, Metcalf has called Steve Roach in to carve out some electronic beds to accompany the sound. Not here. This is nothing but hands and and breath in action. The magic of post-production brings us rich layering and a maximized sound, but there’s nothing here that’s not man-made and straight from the source. The flow is unbroken for over an hour, with each piece smoothly dovetailing into the next. It’s like power meditation.
Tribal ambient has long been the absolute bulls-eye of my listening soul, and over the years Byron Metcalf has hit that mark with every album. Intention, however, strikes deeper and more truly than ever. There is a very special alchemy at work here and ancient medicine and it knows right where our souls reside. Metcalf has pulled together an unmatchable blend of sounds and sensations and the result is pure shamanic honesty. Cleansing, energizing, and just downright fantastic to listen to. This is Metcalf at his undeniable best. Come take your medicine.
Reviews Editor –
From Relaxed Machinery
Virtuoso drummer and shamanic powerhouse, Byron Metcalf, and bansuri player and throat singer, Mark Seelig, both certified transpersonal therapists, joined their spiritedly galvanizing forces on Intention album, which was released at the end of April 2014 on Projekt. Jaw-dropping cover art by Kancano of deviantART gang and additional graphic design by Sam Rosenthal make from this 4-panel digipak a pure visual bliss!!! Let’s fire the journey…
The title track “Intention”, the longest one on this album, goes just over 22 and half minute mark and unfolds this powerfully creative sound wizardry with rather slower, but utterly mindscaping medicine bridging Byron’s mesmerizingly passionate hand drumming with Mark’s mysterious overtone voice magic hovering above and bansuri flute delicacies. Kindred spirit, didgeridoo par excellence player Dashmesh Khalsa (known from celebrated works such as Dream Tracker or Live At SoundQuest Fest) delivers on the stage his immense talent as well. Primordial languages of these shamans are precisely dissolved into a highly ecstatic amalgamate curing the listener’s body and mind. You simply can’t go wrong with such line up, so the gates to the tribal-trance paradise are unlocked, enter now!!! “Surrender” kicks with much more vibrant palette of drumming, while Mark’s throat singing is still safely riding atop. But the artistry of Byron’s volcanic drumming can’t be stopped, so Mark levels the tension with his overtone turmoil. Emerging spasmodic didge barks are provided this time by another world-class ace of this instrument, Rob Thomas of Inlakesh. A truly thunderous performance and a serious workout for your speakers!!! Feel the heat, feel the beat!!! “Encounter”, with 16 minutes the second longest track, slows down the tempo a bit, at least for the first 6 minutes, but then this ancient blend of drumming, overtoning and growling erupts again into a hyper-active, blazingly spellbinding adventure. This is certainly another masterly accomplished dose of explosive tribal ambience!!! The next piece, “Focus”, remains tightly on deeply mesmerizing path, when a soulful fusion of drums, throat singing, flute and didgeridoo is fronted by sharply hitting rattle sounds. The piece smoothly evolves into rapidly shaking, mind-expanding tempos and continuously keeps on tickling the ears of devoted journeyer with towering circular helixes. The closing “Vision” holds Rob Thomas as guest with his Aborigine drone pipe and invites to this ceremony Daniel Hirtz with tabla (he partook on “Dream Tracker”) and Max Link with water pot udu (if I am right, Max is a step-son of Mark Seelig), who join Byron’s stock of drums, this time played in more relaxing pace, while soothingly surrounded by Mark’s droning voice and seductive bansuri. Gorgeously embracing and hauntingly invigorating 10-minute finale!!!
Intense insignias of both curanderos and their guesting tribesmen led into one singular accomplishment, where primordially absorbing rites of ancient cultures of the Americas are exquisitely crossed with deeply mesmerizing Dreamtime artifacts, while the North Indian and Tuvan fragrances mysteriously permeate the air. Immerse yourself deeper into this continuous, 69 minutes long acoustic journey and experience these profoundly imaginative and magnificently mindscaping tribal-trance realms. Your discovery will be fully surprising and rewarding and it will go far beyond the ordinary reality. The shamans have opened their hearts, feel the infinite power of deeply focused Intention!!! -Richard Gürtler
Reviews Editor –
I due navigati artisti americani (il percussionista Metcalf ed il musicista new age Seelig) avevano già incrociato le proprie strade, collaborando in ben tre album targati Projekt: Wachuma’s Wave del 2003, Mantram del 2004 e Nada Terma del 2008, tutti realizzati a sei mani con la presenza del decano Steve Roach. Stavolta Roach non è della partita, fors’anche per la volontà di mantenere l’album in un ambito prettamente acustico, con Byron incaricato di tutto il lavoro percussivo e Mark alle prese coi flauti Bansuri e le consuete vocals ‘overtone’ di scuola tuvana, più una piccola schiera di ospiti a completare il tessuto sonoro (in particolare col fondamentale apporto del didgeridoo).
Un titolo emblematico per quest’opera, il cui intento è quello di evocare stati sciamanici di coscienza, e che si rivolge apertamente alle persone coinvolte nella ricerca interiore, nel ritualismo visionario, nelle cerimonie e nelle pratiche spirituali. Non quindi un disco di canzoni, bensì un flusso sonoro mistico e suadente dove flauto e didgeridoo creano atmosfere sospese e senza tempo, col ritmo percussivo a dettare un’intensità ipnotica che cresce con lo scorrere dei minuti, lasciando il dovuto spazio ad elaborazioni vocali pregnanti. Un disco che procede su una rotta ben precisa in maniera lineare, privo di grandi variazioni tra i brani (specialmente a livello di strutture), ma impeccabile in fatto di suoni e realizzazione, nonché carico di un potenziale ipnotico e meditativo ideale per servire lo scopo. Perfetto per gli intenti sciamanici di cui sopra, Intention si rivolge quindi ad un pubblico ben preciso e selezionato, poiché il suo ascolto richiede una certa predisposizione a pratiche meditative quanto mai lontane dal semplice piacere d’ascolto, per il quale consiglieremmo semmai l’altro lavoro che coinvolge Seelig, ovvero Tree of Life, realizzato con Loren Nerell ed anch’esso fresco di stampa. Rating: 7 -Roberto Alessandro Filippozzi
Reviews Editor –
Byron Metcalf e Mark Seelig non sono semplicemente i due discepoli che Steve Roach ha acquisito nel corso della sua lunga e reiterata esplorazione dell’universo tribale. Percussionista di origini armene il primo e oboista con la passione per la world music il secondo, i loro nomi sono presenza fissa (spesso in tandem) da almeno una quindicina d’anni nelle opere tribal-ambient del loro mentore, al punto da poter essere individuati rispettivamente come braccio destro e sinistro dello stesso. Ma se Metcalf aveva avuto modo di esprimersi in solitaria in più occasioni, per Seelig è una sorta di “prima volta” lontano da Roach, escludendo l’autoprodotto e non troppo convincente Disciple e il contemporaneo Tree Of Life al fianco di Loren Nerell.
Comprendere dove i due abbiano deciso di ambientare la loro interazione è in realtà piuttosto semplice: una forma di tribal-ambient che riesca a prescindere dall’elettronica, realizzata esclusivamente con strumenti acustici appartenenti alla tradizione etnica. Vale a dire il bansuri per Seelig e un vasto arsenale di percussioni per Metcalf, tra cui spiccano l’udu, i tom e il tamburo a cornice. Il risultato è un ibrido stilistico che, seppur mantenendosi ben affrancato al tipico verbo elaborato da Roach, concede un numero decisamente maggiore di digressioni nella pura world music, paradossalmente più vicino agli universi del catalogo Real World che alle tele ethno-ambientali di un Forrest Fang.
Un estratto breve dei ventidue minuti della stellare title track avrebbe potuto tranquillamente finire in “Passion” di Peter Gabriel, tanto l’ampio e spiritato affresco è sorprendentemente elaborato e curato in ogni dettaglio. Qualcuno potrebbe vederci ben poco velati richiami a certo misticismo new age e non sbaglierebbe, sebbene la carica spirituale che trasuda da questi cinque mantra sia un’emblematica conseguenza della loro natura, e non un effetto ricercato o creato ad arte.
Il groviglio di serpenti che si esibisce in “Surrender” è la dimostrazione più efficace di quanto approfondite siano le ricerche che Seelig e Metcalf conducono da anni: un rituale aborigeno talmente realistico da sfiorare l’inquietudine.
Ma il vero punto forte è la varietà di tradizioni che i due incrociano con incredibile naturalezza: c’è il deserto australiano, ma c’è anche Metcalf che attraversa l’Africa da Sud a Nord, partendo dalla scarica percussiva di “Focus” per arrivare al notturno fangoso di “Vision”, mentre Seelig inietta folate mediorientali. Nel mezzo, “Encounter” accelera all’impazzata gettandosi a capofitto in una sorta di trancedelia, aumentando ulteriormente il numero delle possibili variazioni sul tema atmosferico del disco. Un oggetto da maneggiare con cura, che porta al suo interno una moltitudine di linguaggi con alle spalle storie secolari, ma che continuano a possedere un’incredibile forza espressiva quando non profanati o utilizzati come mero corredo. Rating: 7 (very good) -Matteo Meda
Reviews Editor –
[This review is for both Intention and Tree of Life]
Both of these recordings take the listener on wide-ranging journeys through Southeast Asia, North and South America, Bali, and India. With vocalist Mark Seelig the common factor, the discs’ ambient-tribal soundworlds blend the modern and the ancient. Simply identifying him as a singer could be misconstrued to suggest singing of the conventional, lyrics-based sort; more correctly, Seelig’s vocalizing in these contexts is wordless chanting similar to the kind of singing one imagines has been with us since the dawn of humanity.
Intention pairs Seelig’s Tuvan-style throat singing and Bansuri flutes with Byron Metcalf’s percussion arsenal: frame and ceremonial drums, hybrid toms, udu, and rattles. That statement alone goes a long way to conveying the particular soundworld presented on the five-track release, even if the duo welcomes guests into the fold, too. In that regard, Rob Thomas and Dashmesh Khalsa (didgeridoo), Daniel Hirtz (tabla), and Max Link (water pot udu) amplify the fundamental character of the terrain sketched by Seelig and Metcalf. This isn’t the first time the two have joined forces, by the way, with Intention preceded by Wachuma’s Wave (2003), Mantram (2004), and Nada Terma (2008), all of them created in collaboration with Steve Roach.
The opening title track is representative of the tone and style of the whole, with Seelig’s deep-throated voice and aromatic flute interweaving with the low-pitched moan of Khalsa’s aboriginal didgeridoo and the insistent tribal rhythms of Metcalf’s hand drumming. Eschewing the conventions of songform, the settings present themselves as consciousness-altering dronescapes; adding to the recording’s hypnotic effect, each track flows into the next without pause, a move that creates the impression of the recording as a single, seventy-minute entity. The indexing isn’t handled randomly, however, as there are distinct changes in arrangement and tone that occur at the transition points; the onset of “Focus,” for instance, is clearly signified by the sudden appearance of percussive rattles. In contrast to the laconic pace of the opening piece and the closing “Vision,” “Surrender” is more rhythmically charged, powered as it is by energized percussive attack, while “Encounter” gradually escalates to a state of near-ecstasy. Seelig and Metcalf also hold the listener’s attention by making constant adjustments to the scenery, with the drums at certain moments either the only sound present or absent altogether and the spotlight alternating between Seelig’s voice and haunting flute playing.
For Tree of Life, Seelig, this time credited with chants, flutes, and demung, teams up with Loren Nerell, who contributes samples, synths, and gamelan instruments to the project. Compared to Intention, the guests’ contributions are even more pivotal to Tree of Life as each of its six indexed tracks assumes a slightly different character due to the involvement of a particular guest (or two). German percussionist Max Link plays claypot and demung throughout, while Gabi Link (saron), Pankaj Mishra (sarangi), Kathrine Wright (voice), and Steve Roach (ocarina) appear on individual settings. Understandably, the presence of Balinese percussion and instruments associated with Indian music gives the recording a distinctive and defining character, and once again the indexing is effective in identifying significant changes in sound design that occur as the recording progresses.
“Wacah Chan” begins with field recordings sounds suggestive of exotic forests or jungles, after which Seelig’s chanting voice and flute musings and Roach’s softly whistling ocarina appear. With regulated rhythms absent, the material takes on a sleepy quality, as if the elements are only beginning to awake from a trance, until “Cintamani” arrives to augment Seelig’s ruminative flute playing with lilting percussive patterns that, in turn, grow more robust, funkier even, within “Yggdrasil.” Details and layers are added incrementally, and the music unfolds patiently until a brief arrestation announces the arrival of the dream-like “Kayon” featuring Wright’s vocalizing, both ethereal and supplicating, and the chiming see-saw patterns of Link’s saron, an Indonesian gamelan instrument. The recording’s arguable highlight emerges when Indian maestro Pankaj Mishra elevates “Acacia” with the human-like cry of his sarangi playing. Though both recordings amply repay one’s time and attention, Tree of Life generates to a slightly greater degree than Intention the impression of a long journey filled with divergent episodes and scenery changes.
Reviews Editor –
Trance music means different things to different listeners, and this latest collaboration between drummer and percussionist Byron Metcalf, and bansuri flute player Mark Seelig plus guests is a case in point where “Trance” doesn’t need to involve any electronics or amplified instrumentation at all. All but one of the five tracks feature didgeridoo, played either by Rob Thomas or Dashmesh Khalsa, with the final cut featuring guests on water pot udu and tabla. Each of the five long pieces – the shortest being just under ten minutes and the longest being well over an album side, evolve slowly and gently guide the listener into mysterious worlds of alternate consciousness, layering bansuri, digeridoo and overtone vocals (by Seelig) over a repetitive yet spellbinding bed of hand drums, rattles, shakers, and more.
The result takes a different path for each piece, but moves the listener into a tribal ambient world where sounds and feelings are folding and twisting together into something ritualistic and magical. While the overtone singing may sound like a synthesizer at times, the proceedings are a purely acoustic endeavor, merging powerful external visions with cosmic inner spaces into something of an explorative ceremony. The listener will find power and beauty among these primitive soundscapes, merging modern spirit with ancient traditions. -Peter Thelen
Reviews Editor –
From Synth & Sequences
Hoarse winds, guttural breezes and shamanic singings are bloating the atmospheres of the title-track which rests above all on tom-toms to tones of hollow skins. The magnetic flute of Mark Seelig rises and sings a strange ode to serenity while quite slowly, and this with a suave mix of drones filled of Dantesque flights of fancy, Intention gets inside our ears such as a fascinating and unreal incantatory procession. Byron Metcalf’s percussions turn upside down an opening rather meditative with tom-toms which tumble down with violence and push Intention towards a rhythm of fire. It’s a race against the contemplativity with a furious rhythm, a little as a choreography of heathen dancing on a blazing fire, where the vocal drones and the shamanic psalms of Rob Thomas and Dashmesh Khalsa intensify an ambience of collective frenzy that Mark Seelig tries to calm with fluty chants which will remain the hostages of percussions and harsh voices. What a disconcerting, both for the rhythm and moods, introduction for this last Byron Metcalf’s opus. For his last album, the master of clanic percussions and the native spiritual ambiences teams up with the diverse aboriginal flutes of Mark Seelig as well as the breezes and rocky voices of Rob Thomas, who were also present on Medicine Work, to create an album that is redefining the word trance.
Each of the 5 music pieces of Intention is built on wild percussions and rhythms of dance fire. And the biggest of the delight pass exactly by these percussions from Byron Metcalf from which the frenzy is drawing bewilder rhythms that the flute of Seelig has difficulty in following. But she follows, be sure of that! One would say some helixes on “Surrender”. Helixes which swirl in a thick silk cloud, returning the knocks as so violent as so very attractive with a mesmerizing aerial approach. Didgeridoos and aboriginal singings draw pieces of vibes as intense as synths can do. But do not look for it! Everything is forged in the acoustic on Intention even if sometimes we have electricity which bites the air. The effect of being in an EM world is really present. “Encounter” throws a veil of bewitchment with a slower rhythm where the percussions spit a rhythm of psychedelic trance a la Iron Butterfly in In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.
The rhythm quavers and coughs with lines of didge and delicately jerky tribal singings, while the flute of Seelig makes diversion with a soft oniric approach. “Focus” is the most tribal track with a variety of percussions which bring down the hearing. Metcalf displays his immense talent by feeding the ear with rattlers/shakers and Udu percussions which always sparkle under a sonic sky stuffed of drones, chants of wizards and Bansuri flutes. A recurring pattern on Intention of which the concluding part proposes a clearly quieter and more hypnotic tempo.Byron Metcalf always remains a musical experience which transcends the senses. His music is fascinating, bewitching and leads constantly the listener in search of meditation towards doors that only the imagination wants to open. It is necessary to hear beyond sounds and Byron Metcalf guides us there with no problem at all with an arsenal of percussions which divert the rhythmic laws. Making of Intention an album charmingly wild where the healer of the tormented souls brings them to a point of no return with aboriginal rhythms and meditative vibes which, if provide a kind of ecstasy and frenzy, make also possible this fascinating communion with some internal devils. -Sylvain Lupari
Reviews Editor –
From Sequenzer Welten
Auch das neueste Werk von Byron Metcalf & Mark Seelig ist ein guter Beweis, dass die beiden Herren es sehr gut verstehen, Bewußtseinsveränderungen hervorzurufen 🙂
Was man mit Percussions, Didgeridoo, Flöten und Obertongesang so ausrichten kann, ist schon sehr beeindruckend. Ähnlich wie auf der -Wachumas Wave- , nur mit wesentlich weniger elektronischer Musik, dominiert hier das schnelle Percussion- und Trommelspiel von Byron Metcalf. Mark Seelig sorgt mit seinem Obertongesang und der Bansuri für den schamanistischen Part. Zwischendurch ist noch das Didgeridoo zu hören, welches unter anderem auch von Dashmesh Khalsa gespielt wird. Wie ihr seht, schliesst sich der Kreis mit altbekannten Musikern, die es allesamt verstehen, spirituelle und shamanistische Musik zu spielen 🙂
Auch wenn es nicht in dem Sinne elektronische Musik ist, sondern hier die Konzentration mehr auf die akustischen Instrumente gerichtet ist, haben wir es hier wieder mit sehr meditativer Musik zu tun, die durchaus jemand in Extase versetzen und sich recht tief in die Psyche graben kann. Von daher sollten Hörer, die mit einer etwas labileren Psyche ausgestattet sind, vielleicht etwas vorsichtiger an die Musik heran gehen. Eine wirklich gute Tribalambient-CD. -Uwe Sasse