Grammy-nominated artist Jon Hopkins has announced a new album Music for Psychedelic Therapy out November 12. To hold us over, for now, he released its closer, “Sit Around The Fire,” accompanied with a video in collaboration with producer and ceremony guide East Forest, and the late guru Ram Dass.
“Sit Around The Fire exists from one of the deep synchronicities that ushered this thing (Music For Psychedelic Therapy) into being,” Hopkins said. “I was contacted by East Forest, who had spent some time with Ram Dass in Hawaii before he passed. He was given access to several lesser-heard talks from the Seventies and asked to set them to music. He sent me some starting points, including the beautiful choral vocals he recorded which open the piece. I put my headphones on and with Ram Dass’ voice inside my head, I sat at the piano and improvised. What you hear is the first thing that came out – it just appeared in response to the words.”
The video is a salute to spoken-word records of the Seventies. It is reminiscent of the works of Timothy Leary, and a quick-to-accept invitation to tune in and drop out in the midst of a pandemic. Hopkins reminds us: “Everything in you that you don’t need / You can let go of.”
Ram Dass, A.K.A. Baba Ram Dass, was a well-known American spiritual teacher, author, and psychologist. The “Sit Around The Fire” video uses animated imagery from Dass’ book Be Here Now, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. The book was widely acclaimed and helped popularize Eastern spirituality in the West. Dass’ influence on Hopkins now instructs us to expand our emotions: “You love a tree / You love a river / You love a leaf / You love a flower / You love a cat / You love a human / But go deeper and deeper into that love.” Dass died on December 22, 2019.
“Music For Psychedelic Therapy is not ambient, classical or drone but has elements of all three,” Hopkins said. “For me, it’s a place as much as it is a sound. It works for the sober mind but takes on a new dimension entirely when brought into a psychedelic ceremony. In my own psychedelic explorations testing this music, I found a quote I had read that would keep coming to mind. ‘Music is liquid architecture, architecture is frozen music.’ I love this idea of music as something you inhabit, something that works on you energetically. In fact, it was while in that state that the title appeared to me. Psychedelic-assisted therapies are moving into legality across the world, and yet it feels like no one is talking about the music. But the music is as important as the medicine.”
Music For Psychedelic Therapy Tracklist
2. Tayos Caves, Ecuador i
3. Tayos Caves, Ecuador ii
4. Tayos Caves, Ecuador iii
5. Love Flows Over Us In Prismatic Waves
6. Deep In The Glowing Heart
7. Ascending, Dawn Sky
9. Sit Around The Fire (with Ram Dass, East Forest)