At-Ma \"City in the Sky\" is a studio tour de force from two veterans of the UK music industry, who have created the ultimate wish list in musical and vocal imagination. The result is a new form of \"world groove and chant\" music: soulfully engaging voice (and voices) against a wide panorama of evocative, powerful sounds and organic rhythms.
It is orchestral at times, funky, expansive, intimate, with rich layered vocal harmonies and universal language sounds - all full of heart and substantial in its expression and depth of ideas.
Begun during the early part of 2007, this renewed collaboration (after 27 years!) between Craig Pruess and Russell Stone sees a unique and expressive album from the fusion of two experienced musicians/writers/singers. Showcasing the pioneering work that Russell has done over the years with globally influenced \"soul\" singing, and the power of the sound of the human voice, it is no surprise that this CD is something unique and remarkable.
Craig frames Russell\'s amazing vocals in a true cinematic landscape of rhythm and sound, with song, color and world orchestral touches. Russell previously has had a number 2 self-penned UK and Australian and European chart hit with R & J Stone, and has sung with Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and Tony Bennet. The writing partnership between Craig and Russell goes back to 1980. A dynamic and joyful return to home from two studio pros.
Arranged and produced and engineered by Craig, known for his unique and crystal clear sound and unusual sound design skills, and featuring guest instrumental performances by some of the UK\'s top session players. Russell\'s vocal arrangements and harmonies are stunning throughout.
Osibisa\'s drummer, KB, reported last week that listening to the new At-Ma album on headphones is like putting a film on in your DVD player!
Craig Pruess is an American musician and film composer living in the UK since 1973. His feature film music credits include: \"Bend It Like Beckham\", \"Bride & Prejudice\", \"What\'s Cooking?\", \"The Mistress of Spices\", among others. Also an arranger (Massive Attack, Def Leppard, Bond), conductor, gold and platinum record producer (Sir Cliff Richard, Sheila Walsh - who\'s first album produced and arranged by Craig was nominated for a Grammy Award), singer (Sacred Chants of Buddha), sound engineer and multi-instrumentalist, Craig has combined his experience of 35 years of yoga and meditation practice (since 1994 as an Art of Living teacher) with his knowledge of African, Western, Indian classical and world music. His Sacred Chants series of CDs are sold worldwide on his own record label, Heaven on Earth Music, which he formed in 1977, with millions of sales in particular in India and Nepal. He has performed for the Dalai Lama in London, and for Prince Charles at a private concert in his home at Highgrove. Craig contributed sitar and Indian sound textures to the Johnny Depp film \"Charlie & the Chocolate Factory\", the Madonna film, \"The Next Best Thing\", the Heather Graham film, \"The Guru\", \"Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire\", the Warners Bros film, \"A Little Princess\", and the new Greta Scacchi film, \"Shoot on Sight\".
Craig is one of the few session musicians in London that has mastered three of the great musical traditions of the world: Western classical and contemporary, Indian classical and devotional, and lastly African music (two years as full time member of the teaching staff at the East African Conservatoire of Music, Nairobi, Kenya, and performing musician in East Africa).
Russell Stone has worked over 30 years as a singer and songwriter (chart hit, “We Do It” in the 70’s with R & J Stone), including his singing with Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye & Tony Bennett. He has sung in public since the age of 16, and has been an experienced session singer since his teens. In his music and life, he incorporates insights gained from his yogic, sounding and psychotherapeutic practice. As a recording artist and songwriter, he continues to explore the underlying connection between “soul” singing and the ancient spiritual practices of various world cultures. He has penned chart album songs for such artists as Randy Crawford and worked with many of the top people in the international music business.
Russell dedicates his time to the study of yogic philosophy, Sufi knowledge and the spiritual understandings and wisdom gleaned from many world cultures. His daily counseling work gives his understanding of the human condition a genuinely sincere and caring depth.
The At-Ma project explores many of the cutting edge ideas that Russell and Craig have researched in their respective careers over the years. For instance, Russell works every week as a psychotherapist with severe addictive types, supervising his pioneering group \"sounding\" methods to create powerful therapeutic effects and emotional breakthroughs. Such is the mastery of his own voice in awakening the deeper and inner voice inside other individuals, that it has informed and influenced his mainstream concert abilities to an amazing extent....
To hear an unsuspecting audience create a wash of beautiful and spontaneous vocal sounds (effortlessly prompted by Russell\'s warm personality and guidance), and then to see the At-Ma stage duo take this sound and create a piece of performance art from it, is to witness a beauty and a magnificence that belongs to that moment alone... Add to this Craig\'s in-depth study of the Indian classical tradition and its knowledge of harmonics, ragas and the Ayurvedic aspect of healing sound and vibration on the body and emotions - then putting this all into the At-Ma sound creates an intensely penetrating, integrating and harmonious sonic effect on the listener. All immersive... Captured in these recordings is this same sheer sound, with the bonus dimension of crafted arrangements, instrumentation and spacious sonic production for creating powerful mental and emotional journeys.
Audiences describing At-Ma concert events:
“... it was like a sound bath! A journey into expansive sound and soulful evocative singing. I was amazed. Wonderful! Nothing like it...” Matara Centre, Gloucestershire, UK.
“... the improvisation element made the concert very fresh. I felt in good hands, as the artistry was first class by these experienced musicians...” Petersfield Arts Centre, Hampshire, UK.
“... I felt such a joy and peace at the end of the evening. It touched all the emotions, but mainly it seemed to be music coming from the very core or these remarkable musical souls......” Well Being Centre, Marlborough, Wiltshire, UK.
A general note about recording, reflecting the ethos of At-Ma and the methods of creating this album: -
Yoga, meditation and breathing practices all go superbly with the craft of recording, mixing and arranging music and voice - and they have been used extensively in creating this album, \"City in the Sky\".... When the inner silence of the musician or singer is cultivated, then the music has more power and resonance with the listener, especially on the deeper levels.