Music is a broad church. It takes as many forms as there are artists making it, and it serves as many purposes as there are those consuming it. It can be big and bombastic, still and delicate. It can carry global messages as easily as it can intimate conversations. It can be poignant and powerful, frivolous and throwaway. It can be obvious and mainstream as easily as it can be niche and purposeful. And if you take the energy and accessibility of the pop single as being at one end of the spectrum, Dream House: The Journey lies about as far away from that as it is possible to get.
Dream House: The Journey is a guided meditation album, and its creators present us with a thing that is both gossamer-light and delicate as it is purposeful. Meditation may be the art of emptying your thoughts and embracing an inner calm but sometimes, especially to those new to the art, perhaps ironically, a stimulus is required. And this album is just such a stimulus.
Mimi Novic & David Courtney are the perfect collaborators for such an album, bringing years of experience and a wealth of talent to the project. The former is an award-winning author and writer, specialising in the area of spiritual growth and self-development, recognised as one of the field’s most inspirational self-awareness teachers, the latter is an internationally renowned composer and record producer. Together they have forged a soundscape and sonic journey filled with deft words and delicate music designed to take the listener to places beyond the everyday world that we inhabit, explore our deeper connections with the universe and offer insight and awakenings that are often lost to us, buried in the background noise of the modern world.
The art of guided meditation, whether in person or pre-recorded form, is to provide a focus to help you enter a meditative state. But the art is to present mood, music and vocal stimulus that is absorbed more by osmosis than by direct communication, which eases you in rather than gives you too much to focus on and therefore distract from the task at hand.
And that is exactly what this album offers. It is both engaging yet subliminal, having the ability to lead you a certain way into the required state of calm and able to gradually render itself almost invisible and inaudible, as you find your equilibrium within.
The album takes the form of six tracks, which can be seen either as musical chapters through one continuous journey or perhaps six separate points of departure. All take a similar form. The voice, a subtle and soulful sensation, becomes a gentle focus, the music behind it acting as a sublime sonic wash that ebbs and flows, smoothing edges and creating an atmosphere around the guiding voice. The difficult thing, I should imagine, when creating music to be used in such a way is to build a sound that talks to the mind, the heart and even the soul, of the listener, but isn’t so engaging that it distracts from the purpose of the album. Perhaps the opposite of what music is usually designed to do.
And Mimi Novic & David Courtney do this expertly. From a reviewing standpoint, it is creative and light, a backdrop of nuanced sonic hues delicately hanging behind the voice. But for the meditator, it is just a distant, gentle sensation, a sonic cocoon to be worn on your journey. Of course, the focal point, if that is indeed the right word with such a creation, is the voice and here, again it is the understatement which is its power. It revels in suggestion rather than ideas, it turns the biggest philosophies into the most intimate of conversations, it bypasses logic and thought, and talks to our older, more primal, animalistic self, temporarily locking us out of the modern world and reminding us of our connection with universe in our most intuitive form.
Even reviewing this album from a more clinical and objective position, I find myself drawn into its world, distracted by its calming suggestions and its emotive soul. For those who need to create a silent retreat within the hustle and hassle of the modern world, this is the perfect key.
In a world of quick sonic hits and through away, saccharine music, of fad and fashion, shallow realities and the increasing separation between humanity and the world, and indeed the universe, that we call home, Dream House: The Journey reminds us that we are all indeed the centre of the universe, if we chose to be.