“A Masterpiece of Zen”
At first glance or listen, one might perceive the album, “Urban Metta, Volume 1,” by Anaamaly (otherwise known as Phoenix based recording artist, Phil Strickland), as “just another New Age relaxation album.” Far from it. Reminiscent of Steven Halpern’s sound healing work, here in “Urban Metta, Volume 1,” we have this same kind of multi-dimensional healing music, carried up a few notches, and evocative of a contemporary, innovative, 21st century Zen. In fact, the whole album is so Zen, it may even redefine the word “Zen.”
Sophisticated in its amplitude and brilliantly produced, the best experience of this album is through headphones or earbuds. This allows you to pick up on and take in all of the intricately woven beats, subtleties, and nuances that are essential to this experience.
A journey through dimensions, each song is an “I am” kind of affirmation, a mantra; a multi-dimensional mantra that awakens a vivid soundscape in the listener.
Track 6, “I Am Grateful For,” is my favorite track on the album. Here we have soothing strings and elements of electronica, developing into a light, exquisite melody, and ultimately melting into an ultra-gorgeous soundscape to get lost in. And this is right in the middle of the “urban,” the beat which never gets obscured throughout the entire album. We know it’s there. We are aware of it through the subtleties. Yet one can literally feel their own oneness, and at the same time a sense of being connected to all. Yes, very “Zen.”
My second favorite track on “Urban Metta, Volume 1,” is track 7, “I Am Lighthearted. “ This is a spatial, otherworldly track that put me in the “zone” straight away. You feel like you’re in space. You’re light and floating free, yet not lost by any means. This sense of “light,” or “being light,” interestingly, is experienced in multi-dimensional ways. For example, while I was listening to this track, I felt as if the room was filled with little particles of light. And you have a sense at the same time that maybe you can see the light or maybe you are one with the light. I like it. Very relaxing.
I actually love the whole album, but another particular favorite is track 10, “I Am Surrounded by Abundance.” This is the Universe breathing; you breathing it, it breathing you, everything everywhere breathing as one. Completely capturing the spirit of “abundance,” this is lush, expansive, multi-layered, effortless, and complex all at the same time. I could feel this soundscape opening right in the center of my heart chakra.
“I Am Healed on All Levels,” track 11, the last track on the album, is expertly mixed with high and low spectrum electronica, tones, and beats. The soothing sound of a soft shower or rainforest coming in right at the opening paints a tranquil diorama in which all is well. All is as it should be. And it is.
“Urban Metta, Volume 1” is so deeply relaxing, I wouldn’t recommend playing it while driving a car. From the opening notes, it invokes a deep, trance like state of well-being. A masterpiece of Zen, it is certainly perfect for relaxation, meditation, yoga, and of course, peaceful slumber. “I am” enthralled.