Equal Vision Records Announces Mantralogy Records
In a move that returns one of the nation’s most reputable punk and hardcore labels to its roots, Equal Vision Records announced today the creation of its new label division, Mantralogy. The sub-label will showcase kirtan and a variety of other sacred and meaningful musics for both the flourishing underground conscious music scene and an increasingly swelling mainstream audience. In the same progressive spirit, Mantralogy’s debut release, Ten Million Moons, from celebrated modern kirtan/conscious groove band Gaura Vani & As Kindred Spirits, is earning impressive acclaim from a wide variety of audiences, many previously unfamiliar with this music.
While Equal Vision Records is best known today for releasing music from earnest hardcore acts like Coheed and Cambria, Bane, and Chiodos, the Mantralogy wing serves to reconnect the label with its original mission to deliver edgy, Krishna-conscious music, like that of Equal Vision founder Ray Cappo’s early 90s band, Shelter. Kirtan, the main inspiration for extending into Mantralogy, is the 5,000 year-old practice of sacred Hindu chant, where repeated musical mantras enable people to step out of their habitual selves and collectively open up to a powerful, spiritual sensibility. Today, kirtan is enjoying a modern Renaissance, as a new crop of eclectic, cross-cultural chant artists create uplifting music and compelling positivity in arenas far outside the yogi niche.
Mantralogy’s first artist, Gaura Vani, blends western instrumentation, rhythms and harmonies with traditional chants and melodies, citing influences like Beck, Bjork and Peter Gabriel. He and his band, As Kindred Spirits, often perform in traditional venues like yoga studios and temples, as well as more mainstream spaces like NPR, CBS, Lollapalooza, Burning Man, and countless grassroots get-togethers on every continent. The band organized the radical, first ever Chant4Change, a sold-out kirtan festival during the presidential inauguration in January, when thousands gathered in Washington, DC to empower the new Obama administration. Ten Million Moons is presently featured on iTunes’ World Music homepage.
“Everyone deserves to feel how this music makes you feel,” explains Gaura Vani. “Music is so powerful. When it’s dealing with the soul and our inner journey, it’s even more powerful. Our goal is to take this ancient, uplifting culture and give it new roots—to thrive at a time when the world really needs it. Our vision is to build a home for spiritual music, take it from the places we expect to hear it—churches, temples, mosques—and make it the soundtrack to our lives, something that people of all walks of life can relate to.”
Sacred activists and artists Shiva Rae, Jai Uttal and Dave Stringer have dubbed Ten Million Moons “rapturous,” “powerful,” and “thrilling.”
“Everything I learned from punk rock, kirtan makes so much more meaningful,” says Equal Vision owner, Steve Reddy. “The power in this music has helped Equal Vision get to where it is today, it’s only fair to share it with others.”
Mantralogy is positioned to lead the expansion of ‘new school’ kirtan as the style grows into new popular spheres.