Laraaji. Photo by Nathan Perkel o.b.o. Record Culture Magazine.
Laraaji is a musician, mystic and laughter meditation practitioner based in New York City.
He began playing music on the streets in the 1970s, improvising trance-inducing jams on a modified autoharp processed through various electronic effects. Brian Eno saw him playing one night in Washington Square Park and invited him to record an album for his seminal Ambient series
(Ambient 3: Day Of Radiance, released 1980). Laraaji went on to release a prolific series of albums for a wide variety of labels, many of which he recorded himself at home and sold as cassettes during his street performances.
In recent years he has had his career celebrated extensively, with two All Saints/Warp retrospectives Celestial Music 1970–2011 and Two Sides of Laraaji – as well as reissues on Glitterbeat and Leaving Records/Stone Throw. He has also collaborated with a new generation of underground musicians such as Sun Araw, their LP Professional Sunflow (Superior Viaduct) being the fruit of the live shows they played together in 2014.
In 2017, All Saints released a stunning pair of LPs of new studio recordings by the celestial music pioneer. Bring On The Sun is an epic double album that runs the full gamut of ‘Laraaji music’, from blissed-out percussive jams to reflective vocal hymnals to trance-inducing drones. A perfect Laraaji entry-point on his never-ending creative journey through inner light, the record is recorded by Davey Jewell (Peaking Lights/Flaming Lips) and mixed by Carlos Niño (Leaving Records). Sun Gong is a major new self-contained work experimenting with gong micro-tonalities processed through various electronic effects. The results are unlike any music he has made before – two side-long long-form pieces that evoke the sound of a shimmering metallic eternal wave.