||It has been said that a placid body of water was the first place man was able to get a glimpse of himself reflected back, perhaps surprisingly, by that calm, glassy, mirrored surface. “Surface” is the operative word here, as the rune, Laguz, the Norse rune for “ocean,” is more about transcending whatever reflection appears on the “surface,” and instead, getting deep into the “deep.” The music of the album RUNE, by California-based guitarist, David Helpling, is directly influenced by the waters of the ocean and the Norse rune, Laguz.
Essentially, for those that do not know, runes are ancient inscriptions; they are the letters in a set of related alphabets known as runic alphabets. In our modern world, sometimes runes are used for divination. Mostly, they are about wisdom and self-discovery; a remembrance of deep and ancient wisdom that we all carry within us. Transformation comes from being able to access and activate that wisdom.
Here, the rune, Laguz, represents the universal ocean; the water of life. This is about the unity of multi-dimensional life, including past, present, and future, therefore, simultaneously. This music is life force energy. It is the gentle stirring of the memory of collective consciousness.
In the creation of the album, RUNE, David Helpling immersed himself in the monumental idea of an all-encompassing ocean. And now we find ourselves easily and willingly immersed in this dreamy sea of beauty as well. Please, yes, let’s go.
David Helpling, a self-taught guitarist and musician, has a distinct signature style. RUNE is his seventh album release on the Spotted Peccary Music label. David has a history of creating lush synth-laden music, but on RUNE he has used only guitars and a custom rig to directly explore a new level of ambient expression. The entire album was created without the use of keyboards, synthesizers, or computer-based sound generators.
However, one might never realize that, as David is a master of creating ethereal musical illusions with his guitars. For example, in the song, “Be,” what sounds like drumming is actually “strumming.” Yes, I am simplifying. But here David makes a beat with his guitars, giving us the perfect illusion of drums and world beat. Truly amazing.
RUNE is far more than an ambient guitar album. The music is emotionally full and rich, with scintillating textures, melodies, and organic soundscapes. Here we have expressive arrangements and heartfelt, graceful, and purposeful phrases.
The album is eight tracks and opens with the song, “Free Dive.” And here we dive deeply into an oceanic heaven. The ten-minute “Glass” follows. This is smooth, effortless, and reflective. Just beautiful, and a good length for meditative contemplation. A favorite, although it’s challenging to even try to do that here, is “Ascension of the Whales.” Shimmery magnificence, we can almost feel ourselves one with these ancient and majestic creatures. Love this. The soft, yet cinematic, “The Black Rock,” is another beauty, not to be missed. So tranquil and ethereal, we are transported to another place. For ten minutes of even deeper and blissful zone-out, you will thoroughly enjoy “Under Shallow Seas.” “Isle in Half Light” perfectly conveys the essence of mysterious twilight and ancient peoples. The album closes out with the eleven-minute, “The Heart of Us.” We indeed can feel our hearts opening and connecting back to ourselves and to all that is.
What becomes apparent to me regarding this album, which is far more than just another ambient guitar offering, is this: If you’re anywhere near the New Age, you may notice there is a lot of talk lately about coding and decoding, as in “ascension codes,” and symbols, sacred geometry, “downloads,” and the like. Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing “woo-woo” about this album. The music throughout feels like a blissful, multi-colored, multi-mirrored vortex – a matrix – that draws us deep inside ourselves and reflects us back to us, not just our surface appearance, but our true nature; the nature of wholeness. And for that reason, in my opinion, I think this is one of the most important albums of our time, not because the overt intention is to bring forth “codes” or “activations,” but because I believe that is NOT the intention. And it just happens anyway. So, this music just does what it does very effectively and without even trying. Fascinating.
With RUNE, there is much to be discovered and to enjoy. The production is stellar, the music all through is supremely and wonderfully relaxing. The album is as magnificent and magical as the ocean itself.
P.S. That IS the runic symbol for Laguz on the album cover.
Get RUNE by David Helpling here or wherever music is streamed/sold: www.DavidHelpling.com
Beth Ann Hilton
The B Company
Burbank, California 91604