First Light by Chris Haugen is a little slice of heaven. – Dyan Garris
Do you love the ocean? This is the album for you. Not because of its ocean sounds, because there are none added, but because of its clear, calming, timeless, peaceful guitar vibe that gives us a heavenly feeling from the first notes.
A staple in the San Francisco music scene, with an impressive list of collaborations, Chris Haugen is a multi-instrumentalist best known for his slide guitar performances and his signature acoustic slide sound.
Chris has previously released four highly acclaimed albums as a solo artist and performs regularly, leading his own electric and acoustic bands. Chris' music draws deeply on his 30-year yoga practice, love of the ocean, and his surfing in Northern California.
His new album is “First Light.” This is his debut album on the myndstream label. Originally intended as a surfing reference, the idea of darkness turning into light while waiting on the quiet beach for that first glimmer of enough light to show itself, as we wait patiently, ready to catch the first pristine wave of the day, has taken on a broader meaning in “light” of current world events.
The artist says that “First Light” is “an album of hope and vision, with the intent of bringing a sense of calm and connection to listeners.” It succeeds. The album is like sitting on a peaceful beach watching waves softly wash away any distress of the day. It’s a little vacation from your troubles.
“First Light” is 7 mellow, acoustic, slide guitar tracks mixed with gentle percussion and very soft synth, not unlike the very “om” of the planet, which is definitely there, but not clamoring for its own attention. The album opens with the gentle and flowing title track. We can literally feel and see in our mind’s eye that first shimmer of light and the lingering anticipation of merging our physical body with the vast, magnificent ocean.
Following is “Waves.” This is very mellow, with soft synth and light percussion underneath giving a mysterious, ethereal feel to the ambiance. “Peaceful Dream” is a tranquil piece, again with light, light synth and subtle percussion. This is perfect for meditation and contemplation, and it’s a dream we may never want to awaken from. Mesmerizing and completely calming.
Have you ever gazed upon a distant shore and wondered what adventures await over yonder? ”Beyond” is a happy, free-spirited tune, perfectly capturing the imagination with what lies beyond. This is playful, mellow, and relaxing with Chris’ slide technique showcased nicely here. As well, interesting, light percussion accompanies a wonderful acoustic guitar melody.
A fjord is a long, narrow, deep inlet, usually in a “u” shape, with steep sides or cliffs. The fjord is created by glacial erosion. The track, “Fjord,” is a brief, but memorable piece. The slow, lovely guitar in the beginning beckons us deeper into the structure, melodically and otherwise. I really love this.
‘Wanderlust” is a free-form, perhaps improvisational piece. This is ethereal synth mixed with very gentle guitar. We can feel that this comes from the heart, and an uncaged heart at that. Very, very relaxing, soul-soothing, and enjoyable.
And here to close out this album, in “Path of Light,” we find that any remaining darkness ultimately turns into light easily and effortlessly. We have only to choose to follow that peaceful path.
“First Light” by Chris Haugen is a little slice of heaven. For the full relaxation experience, you’ll want to get the whole album.
Be sure to watch the “First Light” video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ip0mjccz2U4
Album available digitally only. Get “First Light” here: https://myndstream.com/chris-haugen or wherever music is sold/streamed.
Radio promotion and publicity: Crossover Media
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