The Truth Of Being

Madhavi Devi

The Truth Of Being


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About The Truth Of Being


1   Translucence Reflected

2   Jade Breeze

3   Cloudbreak On Ilsa

4   Breakthrough

5   Inner Vision – Cave Of Light

6   Luminescent Hue

Madhavi Devi‘s first solo album on the Spotted Peccary label, THE TRUTH OF BEING, is a heartfelt musical reflection upon the cathartic experience of self-discovery. Drawing from her multi-faceted explorations as both a visual and musical artist, Madhavi Devi (Cheryl Gallagher) delivers a visionary album rich with musical meditations that blur the line between the tranquility of inner peace and the thrill of discovering unexplored personal realms.

The captivating combination of instruments includes an elegant blend of digital, analog, modular and software synthesizers, concert grand and electric harps, viola, ambient guitar, and Tibetan bowls. The result is a meaningful journey through lush sensual textures and heart-opening phrases that paint powerful scenes of exquisite space and expansive beauty. 

The music breathes naturally between spatial ambient passages and more focused rhythmic structures. Melodic suggestions overlay and interface with ethnic and ceremonial undertones, while sounds of nature provide sonic touchstones to ground the listener within the album’s sweeping etherium. 

Joined by special guests Howard Givens (ambient electric guitar, modular synthesizers, effects) and Stephanie Britten Phillips (Viola), Madhavi Devi journeys into the realm of the collective consciousness that unifies all, sharing space and time in a lush and complex field of mystery and revelation.  


The six tracks on The Truth of Being are explorative ambient inward journeys of discovery, meditations that search for inner peace and find it via bountiful musical visions that at once unlock seemingly long lost dreams and the secret beauty of worldly and otherworldly imagery set in motion. Madhavi Devi is no newcomer to Spotted Peccary – her collaboration with Howard Givens on Source of Compassion (2016) and the much earlier collaboration with Deborah Martin (2004, then as Cheryl Gallagher) Tibet were both stunning achievements of widescreen cinematic beauty, and much of that transcendental and cosmic power has found its way into The Truth of Being, her first solo release on the label. In addition to analog, digital, modular, and software synthesizers, she plays string harps and Tibetan bowls, much of it is affected to achieve the sensual textures and spatial expanses required by this journey. Givens is here, also, adding ambient electric guitar and effects along with modular synths, ans well as Stephanie Britten Phillips on viola. Two of the cuts clock in at album-side lengths, the first of these, “Jade Breeze,” makes use of subtle gamelan-like percussives as sheets of colorful texture unfold in multiple dimensions like the solar winds, and open to reveal beautiful melodic fragments that pique the imagination. The viola is used to create a shimmering east-Asian melody that snakes its way through rolling waves of lush textural beauty on “Cloudbreak on Ilsa,” subtly recalling the beauty of Tibet. One can imagine with a title like “Inner Vision – Cave of Light,” and over fifteen minutes to slowly unfold itself, there is definitely a magical and spiritual ambience all around within, the melodies slow and serpentine, reflecting beautiful shades of light and dark, slowly bending downward and upward, one can imagine being lost in some cenote in central America. There is a very subtle percussive element here as well, underpinning the brisk melodic content. The beautiful artwork that adorns the six panels of the CD cover is all Madhavi’s as well, and matches the sonic content beautifully. A great release for anyone who appreciates strong ambient flowing music with a definite spiritual angle. - Peter Thelen, Exposé
Where do I start this review about the last of the celestial and atmospheric Mass from the Spotted Peccary label? I had already heard the music, at least his participation, of Madhavi Devi with the very ambient Source of Compassion, album made in 2016 with Howard Givens; the great Manitou of the American label. Always at the controls, Givens lends his synths and especially his realization for a splendid album which redefined some parameters of the ambient music. Bewitching, secret and mystical “The Truth of Being” explores another realm of atmospheric landscapes with a sound aesthetic that impressed me with a richness that had never reached my ears yet. Cheryl Gallagher uses a variety of synths, analog as well as digital and modular with equally diverse sound filters. The harps, the Big one as some electrical, a guitar, a violin and truly fascinating Tibetan percussions weave pads of ambiances and evanescent rhythms in a very immersive music enveloped by sumptuous orchestrations. A superb album guided by the oceans, the secrets of Madhavi Devi and its impressive musical vision that makes us travel through her fantasies!

Breezes blowing on the Pacific Ocean bring the waves to murmur on the shores. It's in a very heavenly vision that "Translucence Reflected" floats these puffs that raise sand particles which solidify into carillon chants. Like a mobile of a child above a gigantic astral bed, the tones of the chimes must go over the immensity of the territory and turn into percussive chords which get bang and tingle with a hope of forming a less passive rhythm. And it's a slight movement of rhythm that finally seduces the azure winds of "Translucence Reflected". This rhythm swirls like a mirage of Michael Stearns in a second part blown to give us chills with orchestrations and chants of the stars which form a sublime lullaby lunar. Here it is! Cheryl Gallagher's charms box is now wide open, and "Jade Breeze" gets in all in softness with its purring and deafening breeze. Celestial layers unfurl like a carpet of yellow tulips opening their petals in a symphony of inert movements. Even with shades of shadow, the tones are radiant and cast a meditative tranquility that is joined by a duel between a piano and tinkling chimes, maybe Tibetan percussions. Thin lines of voices seem to come out of this membrane where nothing else can get in while the jade breezes play with the tenderness of a piano which has no restraint for throwing some chills in the secret corridors of our soul. And as in "Translucence Reflected", it's a kind of chimes dance that lights up the light rhythm of "Jade Breeze". Drums, very discreet, invite themselves in this ethereal dance which gradually scatters its clinking tones in this vast ocean which has blown its introduction.

"Cloudbreak on Ilsa" is a rather intense ambient track that moves in the void by the impulses of its dense sound doormat embroidered by multiple lines of orchestrations. Harp and a violin played by Stephanie Britten Phillips throws a very nostalgic, sometimes very cryptic, vision in an electronic texture fed by many sound effects of another realm of tones. Close to Patrick O'Hearn's mythical territories, "Breakthrough" takes us to another level with a didgeridoo song rocked by superb percussions that mold a mesmerizing down-tempo of the most eclectic. Strange, my speakers always want to hear it again! Sighs and tears exist in all forms in “The Truth of Being”. And they are at the origin of "Inner Vision - Cave of Light", a symphony for souls adrift. At the same time complex and heavenly, with nice passages of introspective harmonies, the music is a kind of astral journey with its many waash and wiishh that undulate and caress the slow winged movements of the stringed instruments and the soft laments of a synth in mode; Michael Stearns cosmic with a sibylline scent. The waves of sound, like THX sound strips, take us into a tonal landscape, which always manages to reach a higher level from title to title, and its fabulous permutations that are done smoothly. A tingling of percussions pierces the aura of the orchestrations, destabilizing the atmospheric wave that seeks its rhythmic lair. The oceans are still spitting waves on the celestial shores while the advance of the percussion jostles another color of the synth layers. The irregular flow of the percussive jingles and the echoing movements weave an ambient rhythm that sounds like if Klaus Schulze was waiting for us in another universe. The violins throw blackness and the harp is woven evanescent melodies that come and rephrase their designs in ambient soundscapes that merge into an impenetrable mosaic whose twisted effects multiply the new abysmal slowness of "Inner Vision - Cave of Light", which quietly gets back to the port of its loneliness. A superb evolving title which precedes the tease that is "Luminescent Hue". Here, no more question of serenity. The rhythm is sometimes hungry and sometimes controlled, but always dominant. The violence in orchestrations and another superb pattern of percussions enliven the tempestuous flow of this title that concludes a very surprising and invaluable album for the ears as well as for the speakers from beginning to end. An amazing discovery my friends! - Sylvain Lupari, Synth & Sequences
Madhavi Devi is electronic musician, harpist, and meditative sound painter Cheryl Gallagher from the Austin, Texas area. Madhavi Devi has had a few collaborative releases prior to this first solo outing on the Spotted Peccary label, but I haven't heard them. On 'The Truth of Being' Madhavi Devi employs a blend of digital, analog, modular and software synthesizers, concert grand and electric harps, viola, ambient guitar, Tibetan bowls. Howard Givens (ambient electric guitar, modular synthesizers, effects) and Stephanie Britten Phillips (viola) are special guests on this album but they never overshadow Gallagher's work. On 'The Truth of Being' Madhavi Devi's ambient is of a soothing melodic sort without ever getting too caught up in the melody. It is richly textured and world music influenced without leaning too much in one ethnic direction or another. Over the six tracks on the album that's just a few minutes under an hour (a couple of the lengthier tracks are well over 10 minutes each), Madhavi Devi takes the listener on an exotic, yet familiar journey that can also serve as tranquil meditation. Rhythm is sparse and somewhat downplayed yet still present on a few tracks. Most of the melodic input is abstract which is fine by me. (Too often good ambient can be ruined by melodic themes that come across as too romantic or cloying.) The one thing I really like about this album is its varying shades; different tones of light and dark that always seem to be resolved perfectly. While sometimes I was reminded of Constance Demby and Michael Stearns, Madhavi Devi's music has a vibe of its own not owing to any other particular sonic artist or work. Gallagher also designed and painted the artwork for the tri-fold CD slipcase, impressing that she's the total package. While 'The Truth of Being' isn't a revolutionary work in the ambient genre, it is a very solid one with a high degree of replayability. - Steve Mecca, Chain D.L.K.
The Truth of Being is, formally speaking, Cheryl Gallagher's first solo Madhavi Devi album on Spotted Peccary, but it isn't her first appearance on the label. In 2004, Gallagher collaborated with Deborah Martin on Tibet and two years ago as Madhavi Devi with Howard Givens on Source of Compassion. She thus brings a breadth of experience, musical, spiritual, and otherwise, to The Truth of Being, and such background goes a long way towards making this eloquent set of modern-day meditative ambient as rewarding as it is. Gallagher's as much visual artist as sound painter, and consequently it doesn't surprise that her nuanced musical visions are not only evocative but also sensitive to tone colour and texture. The album's six settings blur the line between inner and outer realms, the journeys in this case arguably more focused on navigating inner states of being. To achieve such ends, Gallagher deploys synthesizers (digital, analog, modular, software), concert grand and electric harps, and Tibetan bowls, while guests Stephanie Britten Phillips (viola) and Givens (ambient electric guitar, modular synthesizers) assist her in realizing said goals. That The Truth of Being is about journeys of self-discovery can be gleaned from the track titles, with ones such as “Breakthrough” and “Inner Vision – Cave of Light” hinting at the revelations that inward examination can bring. And sometimes that process is violent in nature, as intimated by the album's most aggressive piece, “Breakthrough,” though it also should be said that such a moment is rare on this largely soothing presentation. Enveloped in gentle swathes of swirling winds and crashing waves, “Translucence Reflected” transports the listener to a deep ambient space of crystalline tones and hazy synthesizer washes, the sound mass assuming a vintage New Age character when a ceremonial, Far Eastern-styled theme intones emphatically against the dreamlike backdrop. Though The Truth of Being largely downplays rhythm structures, they do arise on occasion, during the second, comparatively more animated half of “Translucence Reflected,” for example. Such a dimension lends the album a feeling of motion, of journeys undertaken and destinations targeted. Gallagher isn't averse to letting her material stretch out, with “Jade Breeze” and “Inner Vision – Cave of Light” weighing in at twelve and fifteen minutes, respectively. The extended running times allows her to explore even more fully transcendental realms and let the material blossom as slowly as it requires. The delicate blending of keyboards, harp, and percussion in the former lends the setting a quietly majestic air, whereas “Inner Vision – Cave of Light” plays like the experience of wide-eyed revelation rendered into sound form. Prepare in the latter to be mesmerized by deep swells of viola, harp, synths, siren swoops, and ethereal vocal exhalations that surface during the multi-scenic trip. Phillips elevates the portentous ambient setting “Cloudbreak on Ilsa” with her graceful viola presence, but The Truth of Being is more New Age than ambient per se, even if the album transcends strict classification. Ultimately the detail is of minor importance, however, the thing that really matters being the material itself, whose incredibly poise is realized throughout by Gallagher with consummate skill and sensitivity. - Ron Schepper, Textura

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