I have always found a unique spiritual dimension to psychedelic music. I enjoy the way that even without the use of substances, this music opens my mind to new planes of experience. I grew up mostly listening to soundtrack music and classical music, then discovered the Beatles and Pink Floyd. The ability to really get lost in the music, to forget myself, was appealing. I remember as a teenager jamming for hours with friends on impromptu versions of “One of These Days I’m Going to Cut You Into Pieces” and “Interstellar Overdrive.” At the same time I was attending church and helping to lead worship. I got a wah wah pedal and a Boss digital delay to bring the spacey sounds of my jam sessions into my worship leading.
Flash forward a couple of years…I’ve gotten into electronic acoustic music via listening to Moby, Hearts of Space, Boards of Canada, and Radiohead. I’m also still leading worship…trying to figure out how to synthesize these two musical worlds. It seemed as popular worship music began mimicking pop singles my craving for the long-form craziness of Mogwai and the thematic drama of Sufjan Stevens increased.
The breakthrough moment was when I followed a link to a Youtube video of the theme song from “The Price is Right” slowed down 800 times. I was mesmerized. I listened over and over. My mind seemed overcome by waves of creativity…joy…possibilities.
As a musician I relate the euphoria of music directly with the euphoria of worshiping God. When I get lost in a long-form spacey jam I feel, as Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi puts it, caught up in creative flow. There is a spiritual transcendence…no substances required.
When I started out working on COSMIC I wanted to finally blend these two worlds. I wanted to write meditative, psychedelic music that would intentionally be used to facilitate deep prayer. I spent about 3 months blending synths and motifs, coming up with three pieces of music that I was happy with. At the same time I was digging into the historical prayers of the church. I decided to place these tracks inside the liturgy…creating one to lead the Lord’s prayer, one for confession, and one to adore the Trinity.
“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” – Colossians 1:15-20