Like many, by the time Sunday evening rolls around my mind shifts into anxiety mode as I dread another work week. In those wonky patches, it’s nice to have something as soothing and ethereal as Aura Gaze’s beautiful Sky Mind. When the zither rings skyward on the lush opener, “Life Source Within,” I can feel the spirit of Laraaji simmering through these spectral sonic glances. Aura Gaze’s Brandon Blair taps into the boundless effervescence of the cosmos throughout Sky Mind and this warm welcome sets the mood.
The sprawling enchantment of Sky Mind is intoxicating. Richly textured, velvet tones wash over you on “Svarupa” as synth pads rise and fall together like a breathing giant waking from an everlasting slumber. Dense corridors or sound ascend through washed-out clouds as the world around you fades from view, melodic chords pushing further into the light.
A great surprise on Sky Mind is the contribution from meditative music pioneer, and hero, Ariel Kalma. His flute glides through the rainstorm and low, mesmerizing harmonium drones of “Cloud Temple.” Wordless vocals feel ancient; a voice calling from time eternal to beckon us home into the oceans of emptiness. Kalma’s flute pierces through, the sharp timbre a knife against the encroaching heavens. It’s a beautiful passage lined with glints of silver and gold.
I’ve listened to Sky Mind a number of times in a short space of time and each pass is enthralling in new ways. “Clear White Light” features Andrea Cortez on singing bowl to close the album and housed inside its calming, heady drones is a beacon. Zither and chimes resonate with clarity and purpose, a final statement against the darkness. Traveling through astral shores, Aura Gaze delivers you into a cradling dreamstate to rest until you’re ready for a new dawn.