John ‘Soulacybin’ LaBoone has been a massive presence in Denver’s music scene for some time now. On March 17th he released his first album through Kalya Scintilla’s powerhouse label Merkaba Music. Despite his longtime presence, it’s safe to say Soulacybin has arrived with his new release. The first time listening to Gratitude is a spiritual and cosmic adventure through auditory landscapes. Like Van Gogh’s Starry Night, or Beehtoven’s 9th Symphony, Soulacybin has created his masterpiece.
Gratitude is something that has been lacking in my life for years – something I think many of us can identify with. It’s human nature to want more out of life; an inherent entitlement we feel warrants a superior material and emotional state of being. After many moons of trying to fill an inner void in all the wrong places, I surrendered. I accepted life and all of its gifts, both pleasant and challenging. A major component of this way of life is gratitude. I suppose that’s why this album speaks to me on a deeper level. It’s not a record you pick and choose a track out of to get the party hyphy (even though that certainly can apply). It’s not a record you put on for background music. It’s a record you play front to back when taking time to reflect. It’s a miracle to wake up in the morning. It’s a miracle to witness the marvels of Mother Nature at work. It’s a miracle to be on this planet while the sun and the moon grace us each day and night. Soulacybin’s Gratitude is the perfect reminder of all these things.
The intricacies and technical precision throughout the album are next level to say the least. Each track is a work of art crafted with an obvious abundance of care and love. We are introduced to the album by the beautiful vocals of Alaya Love in ‘The Activation Part 1”, summoning all beings of light and warriors of love to bring heaven on Earth. I’m usually not a fan of these types of introductory tracks, but this one has meaning and really prepares you for the musical journey ahead.
Genres have become extremely counterproductive in electronic music these days. They categorize everything into a little box which fits in a bigger box and so on and so forth. Let’s try not to put limits on what these artists are capable of doing through music. A friend once advised me of a better way – to discuss the feelings provoked by song and dance. While Gratitude is the common theme of the album, I’ve found myself experiencing plenty of other emotions while listening.
“Sundari” is my hands down favorite track of the bunch. For the first half I found myself super relaxed, almost in a trance like state. At about the 6-minute mark I began bobbing my shoulders up and down. The rest of the tracks got me feeling like a boss, dragging and wiggling my toes across the floor. “Synchromystic” got me moving and grooving right from the start as well. I’ve always been a fan of tribal ritualistic chants, regardless the style of music. I had to take a deep breath after this one – it really got my brain scrambled up right where it needed to be. Phew. “Alien Life” is another adventurous exploration that stands out from the rest. It’s an eleven and a half minute rollercoaster of liquid, squishy bass lines. Whatever alien life may be out there sure would be proud of this one.
Ladies and Gentleman, Merkaba Music has landed another all-star. Joining the likes of Kalya Scintilla, Akara, Mindex, and Mumukshu to name a few – Soulacybin is a perfect fit. Lets all take a minute out of our busy lives to listen to Gratitude and reflect in just that. We are blessed to have artists like John ‘Soulacybin’ LaBoone. His talent is paramount, yet it doesn’t get to his head. He recognizes that he is just a small part in something bigger than any one person. He is a messenger of love and light, creating art that speaks to our inner being. His ability to evoke feeling and thought in his work is second to none, and for that we say thank you!