by abnormally USER (1 Reviews)
August 18th, 2010 | 2 replies

Release Date: | Tracklist

Review Summary: A beautifully-entrancing 25 minute concept piece that delves into deep theories about human growth and evolution. Sparking intellectual intrigue while creating an entertaining narrative, this album is a purely original contribution to the world of music

Genre: Alternative/Progressive

Band Members:
Diwas Gurung: Guitar
Shikhar Bajracharya: Guitar
Dan Halperin: Bass
Mike Parker: Drums
Tom Burchinal: Vocalist/Lyricist

Listen to the whole piece here: http://soundcloud.com/ayurveda/h-luminous

-Serpent & Shaman
-Ix Chel (First Vision)
-The Channeling
-Homo Luminous

"H. Luminous" is a 25 minute concept piece, created and performed by the band Ayurveda. Hailing from Ithaca, NY, the band's interest in Mayan and Mesoamerican culture- particularly the interest of frontman and vocalist Tom Burchinal- spiraled out into a multi-genre, multi-layered concept piece. Meant to be listened to in sequence, and in entirety for full effect, "H. Luminous" explores various theories derived around Mayan belief and tells the story of an achievement in the evolution of human consciousness. The five piece band is extremely talented, and their musicianship adds significant texture to the concept.

In contemporary pop culture there have been many movies, books and television shows as of late in reference to a looming apocalypse in 2012. But what about music" Well here it is folks. According to the Mayan Calender, December 21, 2012 is the end of a 5,125 year cycle, a time when the Mayans believed that the "earth's axis is perfectly aligned with the center of the galaxy...This cycle has has directly caused the last three geomagnetic pole inversions on Earth...extremely powerful earthquakes and the triggering of 'supernova' star explosions.'" (http://divinecosmos.com/index.php"option=com_content&task=view&id=45&Itemi d=30 )

However, "H. Luminous" consists of more than a theoretical impending apocalypse and the post-apocalyptic world. The piece not only explores this theory, but digs deeper into what the Mayans believed: certain human consciousness' will become altered and evolved via this cycle end. "By combining the effects of geo-cosmic change with the overall flourishing of humanity in the cultural and spiritual sense...the cycle continues to exponentially accelerate its energetic rate of vibration," thus leading to "ever-more rapid increases in human awareness" (divinecosmos.com). This piece exemplifies an interpretation of that evolution through a Mayan shamanic journey lens.

There are three voices throughout the piece:
-the shaman (author and narrator)
-the serpent who is the protagonist and with shamanic learning and guidance, is later reborn in the image of Quetzocoatl (the feathered serpent Mayan deity of learning and knowledge) as Homo Luminous (an evolved form of being)

To veer off onto a few various tangents for a moment, the serpent is seen in a multitude of spiritual cultures, Abrahamic religions, and Buddhism to name a few. Some beliefs state that the serpent is evil (as in the Book of Genesis in the Christian Bible) and others, such as Buddhism and Mayan spiritualism it is seen as a positive force. This is also the case in many beliefs of a 2012 apocalypse, some see it as wholly disaster and chaos or karmic occurrence, while others see it as a new positive change, in this case an evolution in body and spirit creating heightened wisdom and awareness.

As an avid reader of sacred geometry, I will mention the golden mean ratio (also known as Phi) which creates the golden mean spiral, or the 'spiral of life' (Picture: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Fibonacci_spiral_34.svg ). The golden mean ratio is approximately 1.68, based on a ratio of irrationality, and deemed in art and architecture to be aesthetically idealistic. It of course is aesthetically beautiful because nature and a plethora of other aspects of life depend on it and reflect it:

-biological cells
-various aspects in nature (ie. "vegetative cycles", seashells, stems and leaves etc.)
-"cycles in zoology"
-"meteorological cycles of weather"
-"movements of the sun and the earth"
-"the ebb and flow of human emotion"
-"events through history such as wars and levels of population"
-"cycles of criminal behavior"
-natural disasters
-famous and ancient architecture and art (including Da Vinci and Salvador Dali)

It is interesting to note that, although I've found no corresponding research, our very galaxy could be formed via the golden mean spiral. The spiral is based on the Fibbonacci sequence: 1+1=2, 2+1=3, 3+2=5, 5+3=8 and so on. This verifies my theory that "H. Luminous" is based musically on the golden mean spiral and the Fibbonacci sequence. When analyzing the changes in keys, voices, and particularly the sections themselves of the concept piece, changes occur at these Fibbonacci numbers. Each section lasts between, 1, 2, 3, and 5 minutes and there are also 8 sections of the piece. Corresponding to the lyrics in 'Xibalba', there are references to "spirals": Shaman: 'constrict in spirals', Serpent: 'let go constricting spirals...expanding spirals...spiraling free.'

To add more information to this concept, Xibalba is a Mayan underworld ruled by death gods. "The first among the Maya Death Gods ruling Xibalba were Hun-Came (One Death) and Vucub-Came (Seven Death)" ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xilbalba ). This reference to Xilbalba, in "H. Luminous", represents that 'place of fear,' fear of ourselves as humans and the damage we've wreaked on the world and others. The serpent voice refers to being 'human, inhuman' and 'knowledge without wisdom' in the section 'Serpent & Shaman'. This fear is expressed in the angst-filled voice change of the serpent, particularly noted when the voice mentions 'seven billion wide and draining the planet dry,' thus telling of the ruinous state humanity has wrought on earth.

In the first track a consistent melody of two notes played by guitars and bass can be heard behind the vocals that could resemble a human heartbeat (systolic and diastolic), the double helix of a human DNA chain, or a musical interaction of the two voices of shaman and serpent. The two voices in 'Serpent & Shaman' can be easily recognized and are extremely expressive, when the serpent speaks there are slow, meandering guitar solos (representing an unevolved state) - the voice is full of suffering, and pain. When the shaman speaks, there are faster more intricate solos, the voice is more at peace and drenched with knowledge.

After 'Xibalba', in 'Ix Chel (First Vision)', the serpent explains the journey: 'i can see the place we are heading, a return to feminine...the feminine.' The feminine is most commonly synonymous with mother nature, fertility/life-bringing, and the feminine aspect of nurturing as opposed to destruction. This reference to 'the feminine' gives us an insight that the evolution described in "H. Luminous" brings back the sacred beauty of the soul, rather than the suffering and havoc-torn world we encounter at the beginning of the piece.

We move to 'The Channeling', in the voice of the serpent and Quetzcoatl, bringing the listener comfort, providing basis for the theory that a 2012 'apocalypse', according to Mayan belief, is of nothing negative:

'if you choose to hear, there is nothing to fear
it's the end of times
all must be revealed
illusion is crumbling
what is false must fall so truth can be reborn
your task: reconnect to spirit
deeper within lies the path to infinite
return, return
return to origin
…return to origin
and learn to love
surrender to love
…surrender to love'

More fascinatingly, the magic number 8 occurs in this concept piece a few times and is a core number to the Fibbonacci sequence. There are 8 sections to "H. Luminous", and 8 major death gods ruling Xibalba, in 'Ix Chel (first vision)' there is reference to a 'wheel', well there are 8 facets to the Mayan medicine wheel. This confirms also the concept is based on the golden mean ratio, and the spiral.

To 'spiral out' a bit more, the number 8 is seen everywhere and can coincide with this piece if analyzed further:
-there are 8 octaves in music
-8 planets (pluto is considered a moon)
-8 stages of human mitosis
-8 spokes to the Buddhist wheel
-8 waves in the electromagnetic spectrum (radio, microwave, infrared, visible light, ultraviolet, x-ray, gamma ray, and high gamma)
-8 Chakras
-8 is a symbol of infinity

"Even though 'phi'-based series...can theoretically extend infinitely in either direction, when you are dealing with a series that is exponentially decreasing in duration," (spiraling in) "the cycle does converge on one end-point, simply representing smaller and smaller intervals of time in that moment." Well if you listen closely, the piece musically spirals in and out of time, constricting and expanding, exploring the spiral. The structure of the music also progressively advances in complexity. According to the increase in energy levels at the end of this Mayan cycle, "once {these levels} reach a critical threshold there is a literal transformation of matter into a higher 'density' or dimension of energy, thus rendering it invisible to those in our own...dimension" (divinecosmos.com). This notion of a "time and space collapse" is evident in the section 'Quetzalcoatl' where the climax of the song reaches an extremity, passing a stoic barrier, and musically evolves. The only lyrics in this section, in the voice of Quetzalcoatl, are: 'now see me in the light'.

The two sections beyond this climactic point, can foreshadow what comes after the evolution and the becoming of Homo Luminous. In 'Rebirth' we seem to be taken as listeners to a chaotic place, void of any direction, with off-timing. The drums really take a lot of control here, indicating something raw and primitive, the vocals become extremely climactic in the voice of the serpent:

'i've overcome dark night
and returned in the flesh
serpent entering conscious
shedding its scales bereft

heard the voice of god in me
his feathers grow on me
seen the voice of god in me
i am one reborn
i've overcome

Now the protagonist, through heightened awareness via the shamanic journey, has surpassed matter and time, becoming something divine and sacred. In 'Homo Luminous' the music reaches its ultimate climax and evolution has fully taken place, the serpent has taken the form of Quetzalcoatl as Homo Luminous and suggests omni-benevolence and omnipotence via voice:

'i want to
i'll lift you
i'll hold you and guide you
inspire you
on track again
i'm back again
…i'm back again
on track again
come back again'

As we reach 'Starchild' all three voices are speaking through one. The music goes back to the original melody, suggesting human life will be reborn again" Or that this voice is now comfortable in form. The reference to 'stars...the stars...within me' in this portion of the piece holds true to all the theories before mentioned. Particularly the "triggering of 'supernova' like star explosions" and the axis of the earth aligned with the center of the galaxy. Our galaxy is a spiral armed galaxy, reaffirming the notion of the golden mean spiral and its presence in "H. Luminous." There is reason to believe that at the center of most galaxies, black holes exist. There is also a portion of our Milky Way Galaxy that the Mayan's called the 'dark rift', this is where they believed Xibalba existed. What lies beyond a black hole, we don't know...which fits perfectly to the falling away and fading out of the piece musically.

"H. Luminous" is an amazingly composed conceptual piece that ties all of these theories together, musically and narratively. All five musicians add layers to this evolutionary piece of music, creating a listening journey that explores and opens the mind, exemplifying the very concept they are trying to convey and allowing its listeners to experience it. Buchinal's vocals range from beautifully melodic, to hypnotically chanting, full of whispers and agonized calls. The instruments bring us a progressiveness that mimic evolution. The music changes forms and reconstructs itself to fit the concept. The concept and all its texture bring 'consciousness' to the music, proving Ayurveda's talent and complexity as a band. "H. Luminous" is an essential listen, even if one doesn't want to explore the concept. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys psychedelica or progressive music, as well as those who enjoy opening their minds to new sound and experience.

Rating: 10/10

Sources Used:

http://divinecosmos.com/index.php"option=com_content&task=view&id=45&Itemi d=30

http://wikipedia.org (search: 'Golden mean ratio', 'Xlbalba', 'Queztocoatl', '2012 Phenomenon') (For those who discredit wikipedia as being unreliable I may refute that for the moment by saying it is constantly being updated and well-cited)

http://www.antimusic.com/news/10/march/17Ayurveda_Announce_Concept_EP_About_the_2012_Maya n_Prophesy.shtml


Special thanks to Sirius for explaining the concept and inspiring the review!

user ratings (2)

Comments:Add a Comment 
August 18th 2010


Album Rating: 5.0

Ayurveda is smokin' hot!

August 18th 2010



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