Musically speaking, David Newman, perhaps best described as a "spiritual singer-songwriter," may not immediately seem like a likely candidate for the remix/electronica treatment, but an unexpected introduction to an adventurous producer/engineer has resulted in Re-Bliss: STARS ReVisited (available 1/29/13 from White Swan Records), a unique recording that takes Newman's 2012 studio recording, Stars, in an entirely new direction -- crossing over into the realm of remixes.
Newman (or Durga Das, as he is known in the spiritual community) was introduced by a mutual friend and fellow yoga instructor to veteran New York composer/ producer/mix engineer -- and yoga teacher -- Krishna Venkatesh, whose musical palette and background - including tours with Nine Inch Nails and Ministry and studio work with Herbie Hancock - are very far afield from the kirtan genre. Newman and Venkatesh found an instant synergy that carried them well beyond their mutual immersion in yoga and meditational practice, and this remix collection is the groove-laden fruit of what became a most unlikely but highly successful musical and personal chemistry.
This meeting of the minds began while Newman was creating Stars. Venkatesh reached out to him with interest in exploring possible ways to collaborate. They agreed upon the idea of "re-visiting" the album's tracks in a way that contrasted with their original style. The experiment began with a dub-style remix of the song "Love Belongs To Everyone." That track served as the acid-test and catalyst for what became the new remix adventure.
From there, David turned Venkatesh loose on the rest of the album, allowing him to apply his studio magic to the remaining seven songs. The result is a collection of diversely textured tracks, in styles ranging from retro disco and lounge to Bhangra and soul to deep dub and dubstep. While each song receives a completely different spin from the original material, they retain the underlying organic vibe and Newman's spiritual intention, giving the full suite of music a holistic feeling of cohesion.
David Newman is among the most beloved kirtan chant artists and sacred singer-songwriters working in the music world today. A practitioner and established educator of Bhakti yoga (the "yoga of love"), the Philadelphia native is also a dedicated troubadour of chant and sacred song, touring tirelessly around the globe to share his devotional mysticism, distinctive musicality and joyful, often ecstatic performances with a growing legion of fans.
The multi-talented activist has recorded several albums, including STARS -- partial proceeds from which are directed to Witness.org
-- in addition to authoring the book Merging with Grace and founding The Stay Strong humanitarian project to aid relief efforts in the Gulf of Mexico and, more recently, to support Global Green USA's Green School Building Program. (www.staystrongproject.org
Krishna Venkatesh's work has included multiple tours with Nine Inch Nails, Siouxsie & the Banshees and Ministry, as well as studio work with such diverse legends as Joe Strummer, Herbie Hancock, Nile Rodgers and Blue Man Group. His music has been heard extensively on MTV Networks, HBO, TLC and on television programs throughout Europe and Asia, with fresh original compositions that embrace a broad spectrum of eclectic sounds, from jazz and electronica to metal, symphonic classical and traditional Indian music.
Clearly, opposites attract -- but from somewhere in the musical middle ground that spans between them, David Newman and Krishna Venkatesh have respectfully and in the most complementary way crafted a heartfelt and intoxicating offering that exudes innovation and spirit.
released January 29, 2013
David Newman: vocals, guitars, keyboards percussion
Krishna Venkatesh: remixing, sound design, virtual instruments
Original Production: David Newman & Bill Moriarty
Lyrics: David Newman (except for "Durga Maharana" by David Newman & MIra
(C) David Newman, 2012 Inner Fire Music (BMI)
Mastering: Michael Fossenkemper, Turtletone Studio
Graphic Design and Art Direction: Jon Marro
Original STARS Design: Patricia Cousins
Cover Art: Julien Caruso
Released by White Swan Records