Didge Project's "As One" is the culmination of a period of songwriting and performing in late 2010 and early 2011. Didge Project founders AJ Block and Tyler Sussman sought greater musical development in the follow up to their first album, "Didgeridoo Meditation: An Odyssey Through Consciousness" and decided to expand the instrumentation to didgeridoo, saxophone, flute, harmonium and drums. Block had been experimenting with a number of new instrumental combinations for didgeridoo performance including playing two didgeridoos at the same time (featured on "Two By One") and playing the didgeridoo and harmonium at the same time by mounting the didgeridoo on a tripod (featured on "As One," "Water (Adam's Song)" and "Savasana"). Sussman had been developing his multifarious approaches to the flute and saxophone while performing in Costa Rica for much of 2010. The duo reformulated in September of 2010 and soon met and began rehearsing with drummer Chaim Tolwin. It was clear that the music was taking the direction of a larger sound.
Around the same time Didge Project was given the opportunity to create a "chill space" for the ongoing NYC party, Get Your Dance On! Using didgeridoos, harmoniums, flutes, tabla and other instruments, the chill space provides a deeply-relaxing sonic environment that has become a staple of the Didge Project live experience. Much of the music found on As One was developed in this setting.
Each song on As One evokes it's own vibe with the continuity of didgeridoo vibrations weaving its way throughout. The opening harmonium-infused trance beat of "As One" (the title track) immediately displays the full instrumentation found on the album: didgeridoo, harmonium, flute, saxophone and drums. Influenced by the sounds of Hebraic chant, "As One" has become a signature song for the group.
The radical didge-bass line that follows on "Two By One" immediately displays a stark contrast to the continuous drones found on the other tracks as Block plays two didgeridoos tuned a minor-third apart. The melody for "Two By One" was conceived when AJ told Tyler to play (the saxophone) where the didge isn't playing. As the saxophone improvises through a number of textures, the drums fill more space and show the group's ability to incorporate a wide variety of styles.
"Water (Adam's Song)," penned by friend and collaborator Adam Collett, returns to the harmonium-didge floor while the flute explores the sonic realm above. Collett’s original melody emerged from a deep meditation and the group intended to keep that original focus while spicing it with some new flavor.
The album's only cover song, John Coltrane's "Resolution" (from A Love Supreme) pays homage to the jazz great who helped to bring modal music to a wider audience in the west. Prior to their musical union, the members of Didge Project were all into Coltrane's music and "Resolution" is an experiment in using the didgeridoo drone with one of his most recognizable compositions.
"Grito do Congo" and "Joga," were written by Tyler Sussman while he performed with Brazilian musicians in Costa Rica for the majority of 2010. The swift samba beats anchored by the rock steady didge pushes the flute to fly high in the albums lightest, most playful tune.
The final ballad, "Savasana," began as a repeating theme that came to Block while playing didgeridoo at weekly yoga classes. The melodic harmonium expands upon the trance-inducing effects of didge drone while Sussman's beautiful flute harmonies soar over the soothing melody. As the final pose in many yoga teachings, savasana is the state of relaxation in which the yogi integrates all he or she has worked toward in his practice.
Didge Project began as an umbrella organization for AJ Block and Tyler Sussman's many didgeridoo related projects. It has since evolved into a movement that has increased awareness of the instrument and its potential. Through Didge Project's music, workshops and collaborations with a number of wellness practitioners and yoga teachers, the group has helped to build a community that connects people from all around the world through the universal language of sound. Since its inception in 2008, Didge Project has produced two albums and performed and taught at numerous festivals. Ultimately Didge Project seeks to elevate human consciousness through sound vibration.