Peter Holslin spent New Year’s on Nibiru
Homeopathic practitioners tend to make shitty DJs. Yoga, acupuncture, deep-tissue massage—that’s all good stuff for the body. But what about the music, man? Unless it’s run by a Burner with a record collection, a place of holistic healing is likely to be filled with ambient schmaltz. Think MIDI fusion keyboards. Placating pan flutes. Gently crashing waves. “Orinoco Flow” on repeat. The trouble is not with the medium itself—I know from experience that massage and acupuncture pairs perfectly with the next-level reveries of Tricky and Augustus Pablo. But, unfortunately, the people doing the treatment sometimes don’t know any better. They’ve got their “Spa” station on Pandora. They’ve got a copy of Enya’s Watermark. This shit just blends right into the background, and isn’t that what it’s supposed to do?
Yes, it’s true, the ideal soundtrack to homeopathic care is one that doesn’t call attention to itself—that acts more like a movie score, working with the Nag Champa and the low lighting to set a calming, restorative vibe. In this atmosphere, a catchy melody is anathema and ambience is key. But that doesn’t mean we have to listen to fucking babbling brooks exclusively. That’s where Lavender AM comes in. A meditation mix put together by The Gaslamp Killer, it is a journey of both placid calm and heart-palpitating intensity, offering a potential portal into a higher plane of existence.
Like any meditation mix worth its chakras, Lavender AM was born out of some heavy shit. Last summer, the Low End Theory star got into a disastrous scooter accident that nearly left him dead, and he’s spent the past several months in recovery. “Lavender AM is the first time that I have ever released selections this close to my heart,” the Killer writes in a post that goes with the digital album. “This is a mix that represents the inner peace that I have found through my time of healing & meditation. I share it with you now, with the hope that it will bring you all the same peace that it has brought me.”
Lavender AM opens on an ominous note, with the kind of overwhelming synth swell that rises up from your gut to alert you that you’ve ingested way too many shrooms. Thankfully, the intensity mellows slightly—but only slightly—as the mix gives way to orchestral strings, ringing sitar and, later, what sound like Mellotron’d voice lines. But by the mid-way mark, we’ve fully descended into a hadal deep of quiet, with the music moving at a slow, melodious, almost aimless pace, as a great sense of negative space pervades the atmosphere. There are murmuring electronics, measured breaths of accordion, melodious keyboard drifts and the sweet murmurs of a lady singer. But then we rise, and the music warms, as a steady beat comes in, followed at a later point by the requisite crashing of waves and chirping of birds. The mix ends, after 71 minutes, with some beautiful kora playing and a reflective piano tune in 3/4 time.
Part of the fun of listening to The Gaslamp Killer is wondering what the dude will pull out next—he’s got a ravenous appetite for music, and his DJ sets are full of white-label exclusives and WTF moments. There are plenty of unfamiliar sounds to be found on Lavender AM, and yet the Killer still follows the way of both true homeopath and master DJ, crafting a mix that serves a higher function. Lavender AM isn’t about the music itself. It’s about your own journey through healing. In whatever way it can, this music will help put you just a little bit closer to those great cliffs and cavernous trenches of mind, body and soul.