This Album Changed My Life: Alice Coltrane – Journey In Satchidananda (1971)

Sanae Yamada, of Vive la Void and Moon Duo, on the album that opened doors for her

Sanae Yamada: “Listening to Journey In Satchidananda gives me a sensation that is closest in texture to that of looking at the ocean or staring into the structure of a leaf.”

Sanae Yamada: “Listening to Journey In Satchidananda gives me a sensation that is closest in texture to that of looking at the ocean or staring into the structure of a leaf.”

 

I don’t remember the first time I heard this record. It seemed to just ignite in my consciousness where it hadn’t been before. I was a teacher at the time, living in San Francisco, and was very focused on writing fiction. My life was on the cusp of a massive transition, a total change of axis from literature to music.

When I look back from here it seems so clear – how the things I wanted to express needed music as a medium – but at the time I was confused and searching. This album seemed to burn through the fog like a signal fire. It sounds cliché to say I didn’t know music could do this, but in my case, it is also true.

Listening to Journey In Satchidananda gives me a sensation that is closest in texture to that of looking at the ocean or staring into the structure of a leaf – that opening of a doorway on to something vast and boundless.

Alice Coltrane - Journey In Satchidananda

The instruments weave together and apart in a balance of chaos and harmony that feels so elemental, so natural: droning tambura, cascading harp, pulsating piano and wandering sax among flutters and rustling of percussion and drums.

And the negative space – the negative space here is extraordinary. It’s like a depiction of infinity by way of absence. This record makes me feel like I am brushing up against the mystery; it continually fuels my desire to make music by showing me, again and again, what kind of power music can harness.

In conversation with Niall Byrne

The debut eponymous Vive la Void album came out earlier this year. Moon Duo’s Occult Architecture two-part album was released last year, both on Sacred Bones. 

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.