With many festivals on my docket to cover for Fresh Music Freaks, it’s difficult to get excited for a festival months in advance when I have others happening sooner. But ABGT Weekender is a different story. As someone who’s gone to countless festivals and shows, I can’t say enough positive things about ABGT250 and I know the Weekender will be similar. At most EDM festivals, there is a general atmosphere of PLUR; Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect. But long before the PLUR acronym was created, you could find so much more of those vibrations at festivals and shows. Not that you can’t find them now, but let’s just say that ABGT250 reminded me of what things used to be like. Nothing made that clearer than the air of peace above us as we flowed through basic yoga sequences led by Elena Brower and accompanied by the boys on the decks matching our simple exertions with sparse beats and melodies guiding us. So I’ve been getting random spurts of excitement until I have that inner voice chiding me… don’t get all riled up Sandra, it’s still months away! But not anymore!
With just a short month before the ABGT Weekender, Above & Beyond‘s ‘Flow State’, a 49-minute panoramic journey of ambient compositions and warm, neo-classical soundscapes offers moments of meditative calm in these busy and often overwhelming times. I’ve been wondering when the boys would release something as subtle, soothing, and necessary as this album. As someone who grew up Hindu, routinely practices yoga and LOVES Electronic Dance Music, I’ve created my own yoga playlists over the years. What has proven difficult is finding slower cadence tracks of matching BPMs that won’t disrupt the flow of my practice. Above & Beyond’s Desert Hearts yoga set from Burning Man in 2014 was a God-send, but a daily yoga practice will burn through that 37 minute Soundcloud set really quickly. Same with their Spotify yoga playlist. So I was ecstatic to hear that they were working on a yoga and meditation-focused album.
The time is finally here! Taking a break from the anthemic dance sound that swept Above & Beyond’s ‘Common Ground’ LP to #3 in the Billboard Album Charts in 2018, ‘Flow State’ is the culmination of a journey which began at Burning Man in 2014. A chance encounter on the Playa led to a spontaneous sunset yoga set on the infamous Robot Heart stage, guided by renowned yogi Elena Brower. A magical and spiritual experience for those present, it inspired Above & Beyond to begin opening their biggest global gigs with yoga sets, creating transformative experiences for 25,000 strong crowds at The Gorge Amphitheatre in Washington and Huntington Beach, California. This experience will continue at the ABGT Weekender the last weekend of July 2019. As the band began writing more original music for these yoga sessions, the seed for “Flow State” was sown.
Our music has always been about getting in touch with, and understanding and accepting our emotions. After those amazing yoga sets, we realized that there is a bigger place for this more reflective music within our little universe. With the Flow State project, we want to help bring people’s attention and focus towards helping themselves find better mental fitness and overall happiness in life. Through raised awareness, being more present, one can reach a state of flow: a creative and free state of mind where time, fear and stress dissipate.Above & Beyond’s Paavo Siljamaki
To long-time fans of Above & Beyond, this new album will come as no surprise; quieter moments have always been essential components of their chart-topping electronic albums. Alongside 14 new compositions, 3 of the band’s classic ambient works are remastered for ‘Flow State’, including the iconic ‘Sun In Your Eyes’, a track currently given a new lease of life via DJ support from tastemakers such as Jamie XX.
Designed to be experienced in its entirety, the LP rewards complete, focussed listening and encourages a headspace where the journey becomes the destination – extending a canon that includes Brian Eno’s ‘Music For Airports’, KLF’s ‘Chill Out’ and The Orb’s ‘Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld’. In addition to the 49-minute album journey, Elena Brower leads a 13-minute talk on self-acceptance, set to the music from Flow State. As someone who’s had a yoga and meditation practice for many years, the amount of Elena’s talking bothers me. At ABGT250, I thought she talked too much and I found it distracted me from reconnection to my inner Zen. However, I know most people enjoy it as it helps direct their yoga practice. Her voice is soothing, anchoring one to the Earth while hands reach to the sky, and her message is healing, so this isn’t a complaint, more of a preference.
Flow State is about the subtlest, innermost conversation, trusting ourselves, and looking inward for acceptance. That acceptance of our own humanity is an experience of Flow State. It’s a profoundly peaceful space for listening and healing.Elena Brower
Above & Beyond’s Flow State album will be released on the band’s Anjunabeats imprint on July the 19th. As a precursor to the release, a three-track EP – featuring new track ‘Believer’ plus classics ‘Small Moments’ and ‘Sun In Your Eyes’ – drops on International Yoga Day (June 21) and offers a small window into the full Flow State experience. In the weeks heading into the Weekender, the boys will be doing a series of DAYBREAKER yoga parties followed by dancing. To see if they’ll be at a city near you, and to purchase tickets, CLICK HERE.
I’m sure we’ll be hearing much, if not most, of Flow State at ABGT Weekender at The Gorge Amphitheatre on Anjunadeep day July 28, 2019, and I can’t WAIT!!! Haven’t bought your tickets to the can’t miss event of festival season?!? Don’t worry–CLICK HERE!
Pre-order ‘Flow State’ HERE
For those of you with many questions about camping at The Gorge Amphitheatre, stay tuned here as we’ll have all the answers for you soon. And if you’re not a camper, refer to this helpful festival must-have guide for everything you need to be comfortable in the wilds.
*Featured Image of Above & Beyond Yoga Set at ABGT250 Via ElenaBrower.com*