In June of 2007 and July/August of 2008, Mike Metlay (of Metlay!, mindSpiral, and Team Metlay) and Darrell Burgan (of Palancar, Copal River, and Cluster Balm) collaborated on a series of long-distance musical explorations, which quickly took on a strong and distinctive character that led them to consider forming a duet project that would stand on its own. After many discussions (some serious, most not so much) they decided upon a delightful metaphor for their musical lives, that of two lab rats who'd been experimented on to the point where they spontaneously reached Nirvana from within their cages. Lab rats turned bodhisattvas: labrathisattva.
Interestingly, this album was recorded in real time, but with the artists nearly a thousand miles apart. A variety of technologies were used to facilitate these long distance jam sessions.
The first collaboration, from June 2007, consisted of Mike performing a solo piece and Darrell adding to it in real time -- Mike couldn't hear what Darrell was doing, and Darrell could only add to Mike's work without changing it. This became the piece A World Beneath The World.
The second collaboration, from July 2008, reversed the order, with Darrell's solo improvisation serving as a base for Mike's additions, and became The Cave Of The Homunculi.
The third and last piece of the puzzle was a long improvisational session using the NINJAM audio collaboration software, in August of 2008; recordings of this extensive session were cut apart based on cohesive themes, and six of the best passages became the remainder of this first labrathisattva release.
So we have the two rats in the darkness taking turns leading one another, or venturing cautiously forth together into the grand and ominous world beneath the world. And this album, entitled The View From Down Here, is the result.
Darrell and Mike plan to continue chronicling the journey of Smoke and Spark, the two enlightened lab rats, in future releases, and it's unclear where they'll take us in their quest for truth, peace, and a good mix of incense and electroshock. But for now, they hope you'll enjoy these subterranean explorations by a pair of unlikely pilgrims, searching for the ultimate sonic truth.
April 14, 2011 - Gradman
Earth Mantra netlabel is a literal treasure trove of excellent music, but for me this one is an absolute gem. Incredible atmosphere, and I loved the concept behind the music. Overall a stunning album, hopefully this project is reprised for another album some day!
January 29, 2011 - Nicolas Tomaro
No doubts, this is one of the best ambient album I have listened. Very inspiring tracks.
November 30, 2010 - Cody Loyd
i love this album
December 26, 2009 - Wanderlust
Wow, this is one of my favourite Earth Mantra releases so far! "Of Smoke And Spark" starts off like a classic, Berlin School electronic piece in the veins of Tangerine Dream of Redshift, and from there the album departs on a voyage through eerie soundscapes.
November 27, 2009 - Boing!
Great work! The whole album has a darkness and mystery that is appealing. More, please!
August 17, 2009 - Alion
Great! You really made some very special tunes! I love "soft steps in darkness". What about donations? Cannot find a way to give you credits in € for your work!
August 15, 2009 - MaikUniversum
Magnificent album. From dark to the light. I really enjoyed it, got some inspiration even. Very beautiful album and really fulfilled my thirst for good drony ambient.
August 14, 2009 - Michael
I have to say this record is blowing my mind! Very well put together and a great intro for Earth Mantra material for me! We've added a link for EM on our website at Phantom Channel. Great to make a connection