Ambient composer extraordinaire Lily Pond Orchestra returns to Earth Mantra with a lush and placid two-disc collection of contemplative pieces called Beautiful Day.
According to Douglas JP Lee, the artist behind Lily Pond Orchestra, this collection of sounds has only two purposes: to brighten the day and relax the mind. Though only a subset of a much larger work that Douglas has been crafting for several years now, Beautiful Day carries much of the weight as one of the central pillars of this larger work, holding things up and allowing in the light. Douglas believes that every moment in space and time possesses an innate, unique beauty, and that all life demands of us is to be open to them as they ebb and flow around us. As he says: "Simple really ... BE in the moment. It's as real as it gets". The music of Beautiful Day seeks to capture this ineffable beauty and present it to the listener as an immersive ambient experience.
The first disc, entitled A Time For Peace, opens the door and invites us in, encouraging us to find a peaceful interior place. But peace, as defined in the world of Lily Pond Orchestra, is a state of mind and not an outward condition. Douglas asks the question: does peace mean the end of conflict and strife? He thinks not, and argues that peacefulness instead means "dealing with our nature, and all our interactions, in a more mature, moral, ethical, and spiritual way". Thus, Disc 1 can be interpreted as a hymn to a bright future that Douglas feels we are "inevitably evolving towards, assuming we will muddle through our species' teenage years". Whatever the interpretation, the music of this piece soothes as much as it enlightens, allowing the listener to bathe their thoughts in waters of purest light.
It's a Beautiful Day fills the second and final disc of the release, an ode to the simple pleasure that is as free as it gets, an affirmation that each day could be - indeed, should be - the best day yet. Douglas reports that the foundation of this piece was written after listening to a rendition of Feeling Good by the fictional Gilbert Price of the musical “Roar of the Greasepaint – Smell of the Crowd”. Douglas feels that "... one should have a generous portion of this song each morning. It's a vitamin for the spirit". Disc 2 calls you to spend your time under a shady tree deep in the woods, away from all the distracting minutiae that "howls at you for attention, like hungry baby birds with beaks agape. Just relax and float downstream ...".
Indeed, the music of Beautiful Day transforms as it induces contemplation, a simple yet transformative experience for the listener, particularly those who enjoy it in one sitting, end to end. Unlike Tabernacle, Lily Pond Orchestra's previous release on Earth Mantra, this music feels more minimal, slightly less symphonic in nature, but much more true to the fundamental origins of ambient music, perhaps more mature and thoughtful, an exploration of the concept of less being more. Certainly a gorgeous release, Earth Mantra proudly presents Beautiful Day to our listeners. Radiant ambient music at its finest.