Last Laugh Productions

 books & music; editing & publishing

Island Journey Blog

I have started this blog to describe my journey in the making of, and to further describe the ideas and principals I use in, the meditation albums called “Island Journey.”  Science tells us that everything in our universe is made of energy. It also tells us that energy is a vibration. Think about this a moment. That means all things, including our bodies, are a symphony of vibrations ! Each part of our body has its own unique vibration. In this album I seek to use sound vibrations focused on our energy centers, called chakras, to bring them into balance, for the health of our bodies, minds, and spirits.

Who Am I? And why did I do this project?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Robert Hamaker

I was born in 1957 into a metaphysical family . My Parents were both Theosophists as were a lot of my extended family. My father was a scientist and my mother was a musician.
Although I never considered myself a Theosophist I was exposed to metaphysical and spiritual ideas growing up which resonated with me then, and still do today. As a freshman in high school I decided I was going to be a professional musician (my instrument is  drums & percussion) and have lived that dream ever since.

Over the last few years I have come to understand how important meditation is  for our overall health. I know that sound and music are very powerful modalities that you can use to enhance and give variety to your meditation practice. Also that the sounds of the percussion family in particular work especially well for this. This project came out of a desire to share what I have discovered so far. And I also knew that I had something unique to contribute because I have such a large collection of percussion instruments to draw from. I have not run across a recording that uses the combination of instruments I have put together for this project and know I have done something unique. Most meditation CD’s use music as background as they guide you thru a meditation. I have done something different here. The music came first with the intention of guiding you thru a meditation on its own. It’s what is traditionally called “program music” where the music tells the story. This allows each person to experience their own unique visualization. The narrated version was created later which is in line with my vision which I felt some might find more helpful, especially if you are new to meditation.

I will now proceed to describe what I have done with each track of this CD. I would like to suggest to you that you don’t need to read on. These are only ideas of the mind (my mind) and may or may not be helpful for your meditation. They were just helpful to me to create this project. So here it is for your entertainment.

Robert Hamaker

Track 1 (Introduction)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

There is not much to tell you about here. This is just a relaxation track thru some guided breathing with some drumming in the background . I’m playing tablas in a 7 beat pattern so I just call the piece Seven. It is what I also play on track 9 as a grounding track. It’s in seven because there are 7 major Chakra energy centers in the body and this project was developed around the Chakras.

Track 2 (Descent to the sea)

Monday, November 28, 2011

This track takes you down your Chakras starting at the 8th Chakra above your Crown and moving thru all the 7 Chakras in your body down thru your 1st chakra or Root Chakra and into the earth. This is to connect you with the Spiritual or Source or God energy and move this energy thru your body opening your Chakra Centers and grounding and protecting you. In this track I use one of the common assignments of pitches to the Chakras (see the chart below)


The track starts with a singing bowl and a cymbal to activate the 8th Chakra above the head. When you hear the Mark Tree ( wind chimes) this is where it begins to move down the pitches and Chakras. This is played on the vibraphone and Crotales. 2 pitches for each chakra an octave apart , high to low . The first 2 pitches are for the 8th Chakra. You might imagine where you visualize or feel the top of the Chakra on the first tone then slowly move to the bottom by the time the tone an octave lower comes and then move to the next Chakra Etc. You will probably notice water sounds in the background of most of this track and may imagine following a stream as you move down which will empty into the sea. After reaching the bottom, the 2nd part of this  track is a gong building and building then exploding in sound releasing you and sending you on the Journey. I imagine riding the waves of vibration from the gong which carries you to the next track. “The Deep Seas of the Subconscious"

Track 3 (Deep Seas of the Subconscious)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

This track is all about the journey of getting to the healing Island which is the center piece of this work. I imagine being in a boat on the open sea. The sea represents your subconscious. Deep and dark and seemingly endless, your subconscious contains everything that you are, most of which we are not aware of. You are completely protected by your vessel and so are free to look into the sea to see what is hiding from you  in the waters, that needs to be brought out and released and healed in the later tracks of this album. I use some interesting instruments here : Timpani with cymbals balanced on their heads which make an eerie sound, the tapping of different size claves, bamboo windchimes, a thunder sheet, the sound of a sailboat in the water, and what’s called a waterphone.

Track 4 (Island Journey)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

This is the title track and is the place I visualized on a healing meditation of my own that I modeled this project after. You might visualize your boat landing on a soft beach that is full of color. Crystals in the sand reflect the sunlight and catch your eye. The color of one in particular draws your attention and you pick it up and study it. Whatever you get in your mind’s eye here, the intention is that you have a color that relates to that in you which needs healing. I related the color to my Chakra color in the part of my body that I needed to work on, which for me was my solar plexus, so I saw the color yellow to take with me. Again the main intention of this track is continue to open your Chakras and identify the area that needs healing. Just go with what you get intuitively here.  I use  glass and sea shell windchimes, 3 different triangles, some small Tibetan bells, and a rainstick at the beginning, and then vibraphone and Chimes come in. For this section the Chimes are playing tones of the Chakras, but this time I use the pitches that Tibetan monks have assigned to the Chakras. I got these from a recording called “Tibetan Chakra Meditations” by Ben Scott & Christa Michell. It  was suggested and recommended in this video by Jamie Buturff on using A=432.

Although I found his information about  A=432 versus A=440 interesting I really didn’t find much use for it. I was however glad to find the reference to the Tibetan tuning and chakra assignment which is gotten intuitively by the Monks. In any case I used this system to create this, and the next track, and the 8th track.



So when the chimes enter they follow this system thru the Chakras twice thru crown to root then twice thru root to crown Chakra except I change it to end on G. This is because if you take these pitches and make a scale you get a G harmonic minor scale so I needed to end on a G. The next section  is a chordal section I play on Vibes still using the Tibetan system above but stacking the tones creating some nice open voicings in 4ths and 5ths. I’ll talk later about why I believe these are important intervals. Then I improvise on the bells or glockenspiel melodically over the chords. The track ends with just the bells playing over singing bowl tuned to G.

Track 5 (Crystal Energy)

Friday, November 25, 2011

This track is all about focusing your energy and your intention on the area you wish to work on. Here the crystal you picked up on the beach appears in front of you but as big as you. Sit in front of you but as big as you. Sit in front of it and let the music activate it and connect it with your Chakras. In the music, the first tone on the Timpani is the tone of the Chakra, starting with the root. This is where I imagine it connecting.  Next you will hear a drum  hit, which is the energy activating the Chakra. I use a lot of different drums for this: A large bass drum, Concert Toms, Congas, Bongos, and a Tabla. For each Chakra you will hear the number of drum hits that correspond to the number of the Chakra. For example in the 2nd Chakra you will hear 2 drum hits as the energy moves up thru the 1st Chakra and hits the 2nd.  Then you will hear how the sounds are breaking up the old dense energies in areas that need to be cleansed and revitalized with new life force. These tones are played on vibes, crotales, cymbals, wind gong’s, and piccolo windchimes. After you have moved thru all seven Chakras you will hear a sustained bowed crotale, geode windchimes and water sounds as you walk on thru a field filled with green grass, with massive high cliffs  and waterfalls in the distance, toward a huge terraced fountain.

Track 6 (Prelude — The Fountain)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Here you have arrived at the Fountain and are invited to enter the comfortable healing water. As you listen to the music just imagine that the old energy the vibrations have been working on in the previous tracks, and that you want and need removed and healed, is flowing out of you and seeping into the water. You may visualize how this changes the color of the water and how you begin to feel better, happier, lighter, more relaxed and comfortable. The music in this track was composed for string quartet by my mother, Edith Hamaker, in the late 1980’s. I have rearranged it for marimba and vibraphone and added some crotales. I have imbedded water sounds in the background here also. After the music ends you will hear the background sounds change, leading you inside the center of the fountain, and on to the next track.

Track 7 (Adagio — Healing Waters)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

This is the final healing track which was also written by Edith Hamaker and arranged by me for marimba, vibes, and glockenspiel. Here the music will help you visualize the water, now mixed with the color which has been removed from you, healing you, moving up the central core of the fountain. As it reaches the top tier of the fountain ready to cascade down the outside again, you see your color continue up into the sky creating an amazing visual  display dancing in the sky, like the northern lights. After the music ends you will be magically whisked away using the magical sound of a bowed waterphone, and then carried  back home by the gong again, leaving you ready to be brought fully back up your chakras in the next track.

Track 8 (The Journey Home)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

In this track you are taken back up to the waking world using a combination of the scale used for the chakras in the 2nd track and the tibetan chakra tones which were used in the 3rd, 4th, & 5th tracks. They seem to be mostly 5 steps apart or what is called a 5th in music. 5ths are a very  strong and  important intervals and in fact is the 3rd overtone and one of the strongest in a pitch . I found that if you play a 5th above a chakra pitch, followed by another 5th above that, it lands on the second note in the regular do-re-mi  scale. (Example: if you start with C for your root chakra  and play the 5th above that (G), followed by the 5th above that, you land on D, the next pitch in the scale , and so on. It may only be interesting but that is how I constructed this track.

I found a great book as part of the journey of making this CD called “Chakra Frequencies: Tantra of Sound” by Jonathan Goldman & Andi Goldman, which I highly recommend if you are interested in finding out more about the spiritual power of sound. It is full of great information and exercises for vocal toning, which I have found very powerful. In the  book they come to the conclusion that “frequency + intent = healing.”   In other words it probably doesn't matter what note you use for the root chakra (or any other chakra for that matter). In fact you could use one note for all the chakras, as long as your intention for what you want the note do is present.  The Goldmans feel this is because  the note or frequency is like a carrier wave or container, if you will, for your intention.   At this juncture I agree. I hope this dissertation will just suggest to you that thru visualizing and feeling the vibrations in my CD,  and setting your intention for what you want those vibrations to do for you, I believe you will find that it will be a very powerful healing tool.

Track 9 ("Seven" — Grounding)

Monday, November 21, 2011

To help you ground and wake up a bit more, I added this drumming track I play on tablas. It’s called Seven because the rhythms are 7 beats per measure honoring the 7 major chakras in the body and it’s one of the major ideas used in this CD. I found this link interesting on the subject of associating color with pitch which also I believe shows an association between color, pitch and the chakras .

Here are some other thoughts I have that I believe show a connection of vibration and music to the spiritual disciplines. There are 7 major chakras recognized in the human body. There are 7 pitches in the major and minor and modal scales used in most music. There are 12 different pitches in western musical systems before they repeat. There are 12 houses in astrology , 12 months in a year, etc. Also there are planets associated with each chakra. It may just be that those who created our current musical system ( a lot of which came from the Greeks) were aware of and used spiritual principals. But I do also believe in this statement “There are no accidents” so I’ll just leave it at that.

I truly hope you enjoy this work and find it helpful.

Robert Hamaker

What I saw in my original meditation

This is what I wrote about the meditation that inspired this project:

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fountain, white pure structure. Deep blue waters cascading over its many tiers. Sheets of beautiful healing water. The loving hands of my spirit guides and guardian open my energy as I move into the fountain: my colors mix with the water turning the water many phosphorescent shades of green, as I move to the center of the fountain, protected by the hands of my guides and guardian spirit, an ancient face opens before me made of stone. The waters turn cold by now and are being taken upwards in the center of the fountain and are continuing up the the sky, turning the water back to its virgin blue color. The golden and green and yellow colors washed  from me continue to the sky turning it into a magnificent sunset like the Northern Lights dancing and disappearing into the darkness and the bright stars. Standing in front of the fountain again my guides leave me and disappear slowly into the distance, leaving me at peace to enjoy the energy of this place and watch the sky slowly brighten to a new day....

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