Bloom Infinitum (2021) consists of two long-form compositions recorded with my collection of over twenty tuned quartz singing bowls. Listening to these slowly evolving pieces is reminiscent of watching the almost imperceptible transformations of clouds, glaciers, or mycelia. They invite deep listening, sound journeying, or other contemplative listening contexts.

“Bloom” unfurls in a series of arpeggios. Each harmony is introduced percussively, and then blossoms into the singing tones of the bowls. Each chord lingers in the air (or in your head) as a vibrational mass for nearly a minute.

The long tones of “Infinitum” swell and fade like a tune stretched out into the cosmos. The harmonies spiral through dissonance and consonance, a play of conflict and resolution that seems as if it could go on forever.

Thin Places (2020) is centered around instrumental music I composed for quartz singing bowls, exploring the percussive and harmonic potential of these instruments. Other instruments such as tuning forks, guitars, drums, shruti box, and Himalayan bowls are also woven in. The music is informed by my studies of how music and sound are used in healing and contemplative contexts.

A thin place is a term used to describe sites where the veil between worlds grows thin and permeable, places where the distance between the mortal and eternal realms shrinks, and time collapses. It often refers to sites in Ireland and Britain such as Skellig Michael (I incorporated photos I took of Skellig Michael for the album art). I was fortunate to do some of the mixing work for the album while in residency in Eyeries, Ireland at a home purchased by Ione and her partner, the late Pauline Oliveros, whose work in Deep Listening has been a big influence on my musical practice.

While technically compositions, they are also contemplations: reminders of the calm, centered places we have ignored, and long to revisit.
– Richard Allen, A Closer Listen

I played drums and sang in the band Odds of Survival with Scott Roy, Hatim Belyamani, and Altay Guvench. Our 2013 album You Will Be Rescued was beautifully mixed by Tyler Wood.

Cultivating Calm

Cultivating Calm is a livestream I am offering with my wife Nirmala Nataraj every month in 2024. Each session begins with a guided meditation by Nirmala followed by contemplative, instrumental music played improvisationally by myself.

Shawn Feeney