On her new album, Arlee singer/songwriter Raso Hultgren celebrates the peace she’s achieved from meshing two disciplines: Aikido and meditation. She’s played much music in her life, and now, by penning her own songs, she shares the serenity of this meditative state, which she says can help heal humanity.
The love of nature and the natural order of things, companions to those approaches, also contribute to Raso’s serene outlook on life. Her eight compositions and four by others reflect this gladness.
Sung in a polished voice that easily spans high and low ranges, the songs are swathed in ethereal, gorgeous tones, courtesy of multi-instrumentalist and co-producer Eric Forrest. He plays piano, guitars, mandolin and more; saxophonist Jason Hicks and percussionist Hannah Hutchins also help out.
Throughout the album, Raso sings two-and three-part harmonies that display nifty chord progressions, contributing to the gentle layering of the arrangements and creating a choral feel.
Raso’s lyrics are quite visual as well. Her use of active language brings immediacy to the songs. On “Ancient Song,” soft rain sounds and tranquil guitar and percussion open, then Raso’s smooth voice enters, soft and warbly. Phrases like “gracefully bending branch,” “air weaves in rivers,” and “colors ebb and flow,” put us in the moment.
And in the exotic-sounding “Breath,” with its quiet guitar accompaniment, she sings “in soaring flight,” lengthening “flight” and giving it lift. She also adds a melodic low harmony.
This album has soothing ambience, appealing production values and good musicianship.
Visit mistyridgemedia.com for more information.
– Mariss McTucker