CD: Center of The Circle
Artist: Peter Sterling
I’m pleased to see the growing mass acceptance of specifically created music that blends the latest research and technology with intuitive creativity to facilitate balance and well being in body, mind, and spirit. The recent Grammy nominations of these kinds of albums by Steven Halpern and Peter Kater are good examples of this trend. Another master of this kind of music is harpist Peter Sterling, whose Center of the Circle is a welcome addition into the field of high vibration healing music. However, it is certainly not his first foray into music of this type. This Sedona, Arizona resident has been releasing albums of healing music for years, and I have had the pleasure of writing about an earlier release, Circles of Light and his more recent Patterns of Reflection, which was recently nominated for a ZMR Award for “Best Contemporary Instrumental Album.”
Center of the Circle is a recording that Peter created for Zero Point Global – a company that markets products for holistic health and wellbeing. Peter shares some insights about his motivation and what went into the creation of this music: “As with all my previous recordings my intention is always to create high vibrational music which opens the heart and uplifts the spirit. For Center of the Circle I took this one step further in creating a musical work that was based more specifically on harmonic frequencies that align the human bio-energetic systems. Using deep and rich penetrating electronic sounds blended with acoustic instruments, Center of the Circle is truly a most unique vibrational sound experience for health, wellness, and spiritual awakening.” I have been a fan of Peter Sterling’s music since the first time I heard it, and I am pleased to shine a spotlight on his latest release.
The first track is steeped in the spirit of Aloha, and is entitled “Pihanakalani,” which in Hawaiian translates as “where heaven touches Earth”. A little bit of that is captured in the nature sounds that Peter recorded on the island of Kauai while visiting the Hindu Temple at the Wailua River Valley nature preserve area. This natural ambience blends harmoniously with Peter’s expansive celestial soundscape, creating a true meeting of earth and heaven. Parts of the next song, the title track, were recorded in a very different, yet no less magical location – a crop circle in the English countryside near Stonehenge. Elements of this piece come from Peter’s previous release, Circles of Light, which was recorded at a group meditation in the crop circle. Here he describes the unique instrument that was used: “I recorded the sound of the wind harp which is created by holding the harp up into the wind and allowing the wind to play the strings which create the most unusual celestial sound. High-frequency harmonics issue forth from the harp effortlessly as the wind blows upon the strings. For Center of the Circle I used the Circles of Light recording and enhanced it with ambient keyboard sounds to create a unique composition.”
On “Kuan Yin’s Garden,” nature sounds from closer to home – the flowing water of the artesian springs of Sedona, enhance a meditative soundtrack of synthesizer, zither harp, and traces of ethereal female vocals, in homage to the Buddhist patron saint of compassion and unconditional love and healing. A track called “Crystal Cathedral” draws on other spiritual lineages as a Gregorian chant blends with sparkling chimes and crystal bowl sounds played by Peter’s life partner, Crystal Bliss, and ends with a long chanted Om. Once again, heaven and Earth touch as the earthiness of “Crystal Cathedral” flows into the deep space voyage traversed in “Distant Dreams” on the next track.
While “world music” is often thought of as rhythmic, there is a global aspect to this meditative music as well. On “Shamballa Prayer,” a Tibetan Buddhist monk visited Peter’s home and recited the most sacred prayer of Shamballa – the mystical and magical land of legend in the high Himalaya. Only initiates of the highest level are allowed to enter into this most rarefied and sacred place. Peter recorded the monk’s incantation, added reverb to give an otherworldly quality, and mixed it with a background of dreamy synthesizers and chimes. A track entitled “The Crossing” is a tribute to a different kind of sonic evocation – the songs of the humpback whales as they migrate across the seas with the seasons. Actual whale sounds are used along with Peter on acoustic guitar, zither harp, and keyboards taking the listener on an auditory migration. The album draws to a close with a multi-cultural piece that combines the mystical Eastern sound of the tamboura with the earth and sky ambience of the Native flute, played by special guest John Dumas. Also featured are the vocals of Peter and Crystal in a chant to the Great Spirit to assist us in bringing forth our highest aspirations of our spiritual and material life combined. The vocals along with zither harp, drone, and ceremonial drumming create a sacred space that brings us back to the center of the circle.
At a time when there is so much imbalance, both personal and planetary, music such as Peter Sterling’s can play a role in creating a more peaceful state – one listener at a time. The album creates an oasis of calm, providing a serene respite and an opportunity to align with the zero point of one’s being. Center of the Circle is yet another in a series of inspired meditative tools from this award winning visionary recording artist.