Good Bones Meditation Soundtrack Interview and Liner Notes
Lauren Goshinski interviewed by Heather Kelley
What spoke to you most about the game Good Bones? How did it resonate with you?
The notion of a solitary, offline game as a form of guided meditation, and vice versa, was very appealing to me. Expectations from meditation and self care can feel overwhelming, especially to someone who does not regularly practice or is still figuring out what works best for them. I think Good Bones offers a way to explore nebulous and uncomfortable psychological and physical states, and use those feelings to drive discovery. I like the cyclical nature of Variations on Your Body as a whole — something you can return to or pick up again at any point in your life.
What I’m sharing with you today is a 1.0 version of my soundtrack for Good Bones. While it is presented as a single cycle, totalling 1.5 hours, I envision this as a never-ending audio loop that could be entered or exited at any point. It can also function as background or “furniture music” (a phrase by Erik Satie) to help shape an environment you are spending time in. I want to encourage people to collapse formats for “meditation” “gaming” “role play” and try to incorporate altered states found through deep listening, ambient, trance, and contemporary electronic music that is not “wellness” stock audio.
What is your relationship to numerology? Does it play a role in your everyday life or is it primarily an artistic/creative pursuit? (What's the origin of the numerological info you use here?)
Musicians and composers can have an obsession with numbers, some creating numerological signatures and personal codes within their music. I am neither a formally trained composer nor a mathematician, so maybe it’s my mild OCD that keeps me fascinated with time signatures, harmonies, rhythms, frequencies and pacing. Slight kidding aside, whether I’m making a long-form ambient mix or DJ-ing in a blacked-out club, I consider DJ-ing a form of composing. DJs often layer, loop, and take apart a few tracks at the same time to create something altogether new. I’m also a visually cinematic person so I approached this project like a film score. How music unfolds over time and enhances storytelling is something I really love to explore.
As for Numerology, I like checking it out now and then to see if there are any lessons that could be drawn from a certain period in my life. I arranged and DJ’d this soundtrack intuitively, taking notes along the way about points where I shifted into different parts of Avery’s text. Afterwards, I saw that I had created 14 phases of progression. This is actually a number that’s been appearing more in my life lately, no joke (!). For example, since the Covid-19 lockdown, I’ve been calling the mixes I publish “rave sonnets” - sonic love-letters to spaces and scenes that I cannot perform at in person. Sonnets = 14 lines. 14 appeared in a recent reading for me around slowing down, focusing on my body, and self-initiation. In the context of Good Bones, this felt like a pretty obvious link, so I included the 14 phases in my liner notes as a loose guide, and a trace of my personal experience making it. If someone is curious about the influence of the number 14, or is a Numerology expert, I’m sure they will draw further meaning for themselves. Sound is such a physical and embodied experience that is different for every person. So I also hope people listen to the soundtrack without reading my notes or Avery’s text, and create their own journey.
What are your connections to the artists you selected? How did you interact with them (if at all) in the process of selecting their pieces?
Some are younger, emerging artists in Pittsburgh who I know personally (Slowdanger, Davis Galvin, Ali Berger), while others come from around the world (33EMYBW, RAMZi, Beatrice Dillon). I got to know their work through events I’ve attended or curated, backed by my unabating research and collection of electronic music. Most of these tracks are recent releases because it was important to me to mark us in this time. However, there are some seminal artists & game-related nods sprinkled throughout like Shinichi Atobe and Justin Scharvona (who composed the soundtrack for Buck Bumble, a Nintendo 64 game in 1998 that didn’t get good reviews, but his sideways take on the UK Garage genre became a source for many remixes!). Anyway, I digress. I encourage folks to check out the artists’ discographies on bandcamp.com or discogs.com, and consider buying a track or even a full release.
I don’t think it’s necessary for someone who listens to this soundtrack to have any knowledge of experimental, electronic, or underground music culture. But I would like folks to know that the act of DJ-ing is a personal combination of ethnographic research, storytelling, curation, performance and sound therapy that no two people can do or experience in the same way. A DJ is a conduit that no Spotify playlist can match — algorithm friends, let’s chat! Haha. In a live context, the audience’s active participation and the space influence how and what a DJ plays (even if they are not taking “requests”). Different bodies and forms of pain are channeled and healed on a dancefloor. Many of the artists you hear in this soundtrack for Good Bones also make incredible dance music for the club. Something that draws me to DJ and experience music this way as an attendee is the extended release of these formats, and an ability to feel close to myself and others without having to say a word, or even see each other sometimes :).
DJs and electronic music are also part of a history of marginalized space. On a related note, most people around the world who work in music and nightlife are freelancers, including myself, and have lost all employment because of Covid-19. It will be a long time before we can re-open venues and events that have helped so much culture flourish. These are essential cultural spaces, in my opinion. In the US, cultural workers and independent venues do not have access to grants of the sort that the symphony or a museum or arts non-profit would. Many may have to close permanently because they can’t access enough financial support to weather the storm. These spaces, from DIY studios to bars and nightclubs, are places where women, LGBTQ+, and marginalized people form their creative voices, their communities, and empower and employ themselves. There can be a particular safety to a space / performance that only you and 50-100 other people experience together. They inform culture at large in significant ways, and are often lightning rods for social change (from Stonewall or the excessive policing of “beat driven music” across club culture over the last 100 years, to a museum like the Met acknowledging the significance of Studio 54 decades too late, or “werk” being a phrase everyone and their grandma uses even though they may not know the importance of vogue/ballroom). Day to day these places are also small businesses in our local economy, critical to employment, social wellness and individual health. Lots of communities around the world are going through a sense of grief because these spaces and jobs may not be able to come back. For me, creating this soundtrack was a way to be gentle but real with these fears, feel connected through these sounds, and imagine different futures while we are alone together.
Thanks to Avery Alder for sharing your text with me, and CMU Professor Heather Kelley for the invite.
Meditation Soundtrack Liner Notes
14 Point Cycle, 1.5 hours, repeat as desired
- Body/Spirit Weary
- Mind into Body
- A Rumble / Deep Hum
- Ask for Help
- Awaken Bone Knowledge
- Wake / Rise
- Gratitude / Release
- Forgotten Dreams
- Sleep / Dream
- Repeat x Ask Again for Help
- Fusion of Mind & Bones
- Two Intelligences Working Together
- Develop Warm Light for Protection
— repeat cycle when & wherever you need —
Bicep - Vespa
Slowdanger - BeautyforMISC
VASE - Idiom Omnis
Dold - Refuel
Aasthma - Das War’s Dann, Leutel
Justin Scharvona - Buzz
Wata Igarashi - Cocytus
PRG/M - Radiant Fields
Ploy - Footprints In Solid Rock (Beatrice Dillon Remix)
Zeta Zeta - Karen’s Dream
Toh Imago - Schiste Pyramide
33EMYBW - Symmetry
Beatrice Dillon - Workaround Eight
RAMZi - Mela Hele
Ambien Baby - Amor Propio
Dold - Stated
Ali Berger - 2020.03.29 2:48AM
VASE - Environmental Select
Coco Bryce - Iran Jaya
Beatrice Dillon - Workaround Seven
Shinichi Atobe - Republic
Davis Galvin - Ntih_1
Bella Boo - Hotel Europa
Kuniyuki Takahashi - Island (501)