The Wake Up Call: New Compositional Ambient Album From Starita Featuring Christian Scott aTunde Adhuah, Sean Johnson & The Wild Lotus Band, Trent Park and Pratika Gopinath Set For July 30th release Via Be Still Records
“Ambient Electronic Artist & Songwriter Offers Cinematic Soundtrack That Taps Into Introspection and Awareness”
‘One of electronic music’s rising stars just so happens to be a Southern boy at heart. Mississippian Starita has wowed international crowds with his innate knack for blending acoustic instruments into an electronic song, which he argues is indicative of his roots.’ – PopMatters
‘The Hip Hop/Tech House hybrid bursts with a sharp uniqueness, simultaneously delivering plenty of heart and soul.’ – Kyle Eustice, HipHopDX
‘…a sure standout…that showcases Starita’s unique and open-minded approach to collaboration…is truly a collaboration between artists who managed to tap into the same musical wavelength and make something special.’ – Glide Magazine
About Starita ‘The Wake Up Call’ // Album:
From his collaborations with members of A Tribe Called Quest to Los Amigos Invisibles and Michael Franti and Spearhead, Mississippi born San Francisco Bay Area multi-talented artist, producer and songwriter, Starita, has astounded worldwide audiences with his unique blending of electronic and acoustic instrumentations (drawn from his deep roots in dance, ambient, funk, rock, and techno music). The lush yet complex signature soundscape showcased within various artist collaborations have consistently produced jaw dropping, original out-of-the-box productions that dare to defy odds, break the ‘rules’ of music genres, raise vibrations, while offering a note of spiritual introspection.
Once again, Starita steps outside the bounds of musical artistry with the release of his first avante-garde, ambient album, ‘The Wake Up Call’ on July 30th, 2021. In some of the most difficult times in our country’s history, this body of work draws together a diverse group of top musical talents across different genres and geographies to create distinctive art through adversity. This body of work expresses the journey of introspection across the various stages of the human experience (from openness and curiosity in childhood to pain, closure, resistance, and darkness in adulthood), leading to awareness, acceptance, and awakening in the search for peace and freedom. “Everything about this album elicits the awakening to our true nature and listening to ‘the Spirit,’” says Starita. The seven song collection showcases an intentionally open longer format that allows listeners time to drop in, access, connect, and flow with whatever emotions and memories that may surface throughout the sound journey.
“In the process of creating this album, it became clear that the collaborators and I were tapping into a stream of consciousness that was directing the flow and creation of the art. The basic premise agreed upon for the album was to allow each song and its elements to flow together naturally with no force from the mind; letting the heart lead. As a result, the songs on the album, in a sense, wrote themselves,” Starita added. “Each song provided an opportunity for us to express some sort of emotion or internal story that needed to be let go of….a catharsis of sorts. The album is actually one long piece of music with each track serving as individual chapters that flow together to tell a story. The story mirrors my own life’s evolution and experiences.’
Rolling Stone India premiered the opening track on the album, ‘Changing,’ featuring a transnational virtual collaboration with Pratika Gopinath, lead vocalist of the group, Easy Wanderlings of Chennai, South India, and Robin Applewood, guitarist and musical renaissance man, San Francisco Bay Area, US. ‘Changing’ eases the listener into the start of the album due to the reflective nature of the message. “The music seeked to capture the essence of openness and curiosity as reflective of a child experiencing the material world for the first time and all the changes that accompany this journey of mental growth. As the child becomes conditioned by the external world, they slowly begin to move away from who they truly are…a spiritual being having a human experience. This is a theme that has always fascinated me as I reflect upon my own personal journey of change and all that comes with it,” Starita shares. While this neo-classical and ambient soundscape direction differs from his previous releases, Starita’s signature sound blending resonates clearly on this track and album, as he masterfully combines acoustic and electronic elements using analog synths and sound design.
‘Love & Pain’ is second in the line up of tracks featured on this album. Previously premiered by Northern Transmissions, this song spotlights the talented collaboration of the soulful singer/songwriter Trent Park, Los Angeles, CA, and American musician and guitarist Michael Hays, Austin, TX. “This is a downtempo, groove oriented, and vibey tune that catapults off of its placement in the sequence of the album. The message behind the song speaks to the paradoxical pairing of LOVE and PAIN. While love is highly sought after and carries with it all the emotions of bliss and euphoria, in contrast, pain is avoided at all costs but comes along as a package deal. These two strong emotions – finding love and the cessation of pain – drive our human existence,” Starita reflects.
“…‘Love & Pain,’ with it’s lush vocals and smooth beats, transcend you to a better place.” – Northern Transmissions
The development of the album transcends into sadness and complex heavy emotions portrayed by ‘The Dream,’ the third single featuring acclaimed trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah and soulful singer/songwriter Trent Park, both from Los Angeles, CA, premiered by Glide Magazine. Starita created a dramatic, neoclassical, compositional ambient, cinematic sound design (a blending of acoustic with electronic elements and instrumentation with analog synths) on this track that holds the expansive range of emotions – from intense devastation to hopeful – artfully. “This song digs down and stirs up deep rooted emotions in the body to be purged and cleansed from the consciousness. The sound design, structure and production was designed to capture that purification. With the explosive journey that we all experience as humans – individually and collectively – this purification outlet is necessary and needed. Using sound art to provide that access point is a tool that I tap into and hope that listeners can benefit from as well. While considered the most emotionally charged song on the album, it is also very relatable. The vocal melody and chord progression quite naturally reflects the visceral quality of the human emotional experience. This very special feature from Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah’s trumpet solo adds a unique layer of emotional intimacy to the song,” Starita remarks.
“I wanted to use this time, during the pandemic, while the world was ‘resting’ and ‘reflecting,’ to explore musically. Starita’s genre-blending style of music, combining electronic and live instrumentation intrigued me. Listening to Starita’s initial interpretation of ‘The Dream’ piqued my interest and I was drawn to creating a trumpet piece to go with it. As a conceptualist and producer, I share Starita’s vision of ‘letting go, not thinking, and letting it flow.’ With that, I listened intently and created a sound that was very specific for this track. It is so interesting and rewarding to witness what we have created together. It is my mission to unify people via their musical and cultural voices by tearing down the sonic and social constructs that separate them. To me the idea of ‘genre’ is the same. It’s just an extension of that type of self-segregating and kind of linear thinking. Similarly for this collaboration or my work with Stretch Music, my stance is the same, in order to stretch music, you have to be able to stretch yourself,” declares Scott.
‘Habitual Ritual’ is an interlude that follows in the line up. “This song encapsulates the extreme desire to escape and the neurosis that accompanies it. As human beings, many of us can relate to the common path of escapism and avoidance of the present moment whether that be through relationships, substances, career, money and so on… It becomes a habitual ritual and is what society calls ‘addiction.’ It’s usually only called ‘addiction’ when it is not a commonly accepted behavior by society. In reality, everyone is addicted to the mind and ego, which is ironically the very thing we are all trying to escape. I find this paradox and irony to be so interesting,” Starita shares.
“As we start to realize that all of the avenues of escapism are just cycles of distraction providing only temporary relief from the mind, we begin the search for a lasting answer….for peace, freedom and liberation from the mental anguish of being caught in our ego structure. ‘The Search’ is the following song that speaks to this quest but also pays homage to all of the mistakes made while trying to escape. When we are in a cycle of escapism, we tend to unknowingly hurt ourselves and others. To move past this, we must acknowledge and accept it or it just becomes another tool of the ego to torture us. The past, regret, shame and guilt, these are all a part of the spiritual path. As my music is an extension of my spiritual practice, I use it as a tool to explore these various narratives and themes,” Starita says. ‘The Search,’ features Seán Johnson, vocalist/lyricist/harmonium player of the mantra centric band, Seán Johnson & The Wild Lotus Band, based in New Orleans, LA. A crucial component of Starita’s vision for this song included hearing some “intense devotional prostration.” This led to his collaboration and integration of Seán Johnson’s vocal delivery of the sacred mantras, which particularly made this song very different from others on the album. In sound speak, this is a journey through electronic pulsating beats evolving into a peaceful meditative lush wash of sound.
“‘Thoughts’ is a heightened, tense and somewhat complex piece of music which continues the story of the next stage in the spiritual journey, which can at times feel confusing,” Starita continues. “Ironically, a common pitfall of spirituality in and of itself is the search for freedom and liberation, which in turn becomes a neurosis of its own and another tool of the ego. We become addicted to spirituality and all its esoteric practices which is just another form of escapism dressed up as the ‘spiritual seeker.’ We become obsessed looking everywhere for what is right in front of us. In the process, the mind seems to get even stronger until finally we become exhausted with the search. Once we have hit the proverbial bottom of trying to be free (if we are lucky), then comes ‘The Wake Up Call.’”
Rounding out the album is the emotional title track and genesis of the project, ‘The Wake Up Call,’ featuring singer/songwriter Trent Park, Los Angeles, CA, and Robin Applewood, guitarist, San Francisco Bay Area, CA. “This project began in April 2020 (early on in the shutdown),” Starita says. “We never really know why something is happening and many times things can seem like an obstacle when it may be a path to an opportunity. I saw the pandemic and the world events that were culminating as a rare opportunity for humanity to wake up. When in human history has the entire world been forced into retreat with no choice but to go inside themselves with brutal honesty to wake up to the habitual patterns, toxic conditioning, and actions that have brought us to the breaking point we are at today? Even in the freestyle lyrics that Trent Park organically captured, ‘What is man to do?’ captures the sentiment of being forced to be alone during this time and facing all the feelings that come with it. Perhaps in solitude, aside from despair, loneliness, darkness, sadness, helplessness, hopelessness, there is also optimism, brightness, hopefulness, and beauty.”
“After listening to this sound journey, I hope that the listeners felt cleansed, had a moment that they needed, and perhaps let go of some emotional pain,” Park closes.
Starita’s ‘The Wake Up Call’ LP is available across all digital service providers on Friday, July 30, 2021.