A while ago I had dinner with friends. Topic of conversation was that it has been quite a while since a defined trend in music has been discernible among the many offerings out there. This also becomes increasingly more difficult, since the offer is growing daily due to the uploads on itunes and youtube. Apparently this leads to the strange effect that trends are increasingly less an (often orchestrated) mass phenomenon than matters of individual preferences. At least in music, art and literature it seems.
The enthusiasm of the listeners is more important than ever
Besides, most indie musicians cannot even afford an expensive and widely spread PR-campaign to become known. They depend entirely on the openness, the curiosity and the taste in music of their potential listeners. It´s up to the individual listener if what s/he is experiencing while listening to the music is worth sharing or not. The internet has already become the main means of distribution. This motivates me to blog about Iokokanoa’s newly released EP FIRE and independently from the fact that I happen to know her personally and am possibly biased. More about that later!
No background music
Listening to the EP FIRE for the first time, I was flooded with sensations. I immediately noticed I had to listen with my entire attention. Trying to listen to them while doing something else, like writing or doing household chores was too distracting. It was as if I was missing too much. So I made sure, I wouldn´t be disturbed for a while, sat down and listened again and then I was able to dive deeply into what I was hearing.
I really like the cheeky quality of BODY. I am intrigued by the mythical ballad of ICARUS and it´s archetypical beats and am profoundly moved by the soundscapes of KING. For me there is something life affirming and creativity inducing about this music, that is definitely welcome and simply enchanting.
Music as an amplifier of the paradigm shift
I have no idea whether this is THE ‘new’ music or even the beginning of an ever so subtle trend of who-knows-what. But what I do find is that this music required me to listen in a new way. After all even listening to music can become habitual.
Listening to it, I realized that it is representative of what I consider the currently taking place shift of a paradigm on so many levels. So many areas are in crisis, from politics to entertainment, from science to art, from religion to economy and that for quite a while. Our world is in an alarming state in many areas: disease, pollution, poverty are rampant. The old ways obviously do not really serve us anymore – if they ever did. So we need to explore new ways – in all realms.
Fortunately there also is an outpour of creativity in many realms. And more and more people are consciously exploring what´s serving them instead of just consuming what they´re being fed. For example people now choose what they want to watch, when and where online rather than just sitting down in front of the TV.
So listening to music that possibly opens new neural pathways and new lines of thinking is surely a good thing. Especially if it has such a highly sophisticated quality to it. It literally makes you think and feel in new directions.
For me the music of Iokokanoa always reminded me of fractals – the complex harmonies and bigger and smaller acoustic surprises turn each song into an actual listening adventure. Like watching a movie or reading a story. And the more you listen to it, the more you discover.
Music that transforms
Besides the beauty of the music – which is surely subjective – there is another quality of the sounds that goes beyond the listening. It´s like you get enveloped in an ocean of sound – drawn into a multidimensional and multi-sensual tapestry of sorts. It seems that just by listening to FIRE, you can grow in consciousness.
I believe good art does that in general – it advances you in your own soul growth! Independently from whether you like it or not. So for me this music is an expression of music beyond mere entertainment and “ear candy”. It has a potentially healing quality: if you´re open to it the music can reach in places of your consciousness and touch upon things you weren´t aware before and gently nudge them towards resolution. Without any personal effort aside from the willingness to release anything that is out of harmony within you.
There seems to be indeed something magical about the female voice that can make it sound like the breath from the universe itself. Every once in a while a masterful female musician explores that quality of her singing voice and lets us experience a multi-sensual and multidimensional reconnection to the core of creation herself, simply by listening to the music of that singer. For me Björk, Enya, Azam Ali and Lisa Gerard are doing this. More recently Eivor Palsdottir and now Iokokanoa. What they all have in common is following their very personal sense of harmonies beyond cultural traditions and conventions, often mixing cultures and genres, styles and techniques – creating a most unique experience for the listener. The combinations of songs and sounds on Iokokanoa’s EP FIRE do exactly that: whoever is open to it can hear music that reaches much further than the mere listening experience – into realms beyond the mind and imagination.
Iokokanoa is music
That is actually a quality I have found in all of the younger work of Iokokanoa. I´ve known her since 2010. I´ve heard her sing opera and also some of her more singer-songwriter type songs in 2016 and finally witnessed her move into being a singer, composer and arranger of most complex pieces of music.
For me they are much less songs than sound gestalts. They could easily embed a movie, a mythical game or some unusual event, like an art exhibition etc. With her latest work she has definitely begun to move into the realm where she can unfold her unbelievable talent. Her sense of musical abundance and sensory exploration is just delightful.
The Hawaiian sounding name represents the musical creator aspect of her human beingness. The sequence of letters shaping the name is – according to Iokokanoa – a specific string of sounds and vibrations that mirrors her personal creative process: … it´s the depiction of the movement in and through sound as a matrix of creation and an amazing fusion of her personal musical biography so far. Knowing that makes listening to her music even more delightful.
We consider each other soul sisters
And then there is a very personal aspect that makes Iokokanoas music special to me. Since the beginning of our friendship we shared an interest in metaphysics and art. Together we are exploring health and healing, consciousness and quantum physics and all the ineffable in between. We support each other in finding the beat of creation within ourselves and the best possible way to express it. What exactly is it that wants and can be expressed through us?
In my humble opinion she has come yet again a big step closer to her very personal unique and mindboggling way of making her art – and allowing creation express through her.
Music of the future
For me these pieces of music with their eclectic mix of genres (the rock guitar in FIRE, the jazzy quality of BODY, the synthesiser in DEJA VU) all put in service of creating a multidimensional experience. Somehow modern and classic at the same time. This music certainly wakens the senses for what lies beyond our expectations and perhaps even of what we can currently imagine!
I really wished there were more songs and I cannot wait to hear, what Iokokanoa comes up with next!