Dream Landscapes is a rare flower, blooming deep inside its tropical rainforest, the deep, low drones dripping as its petals collect the cool raindrops, providing instant sustenance, refreshment and a dash of colour. Shifting visions result in a mirage of notes, each one adapting to the loose sands under-foot. The stress of life parts like a white cloud. Sounds of nature emerge: insects, birds, streams. The deep and cluttered foliage of a jungle eventually leads to a trickling rivulet, and even the low-hanging branches of the trees bow their arms, worshipping the deity of the river with grateful roots, sinking into the water to take a drink, to sustain itself. These trees are hundreds of years old. The amount of life in this rainforest makes up a monsoon, each life nothing but a single raindrop that’s in the process of falling to the ground.
This is a dream world, a still lake of meditation and wellbeing sitting in the centre of it all. It’s often said that life is like a dream. It’s there one moment and gone the next, but it’s rarely smooth sailing, and heartache, pain and suffering bruise and darken this particular dream. In the world of Dream Landscapes, you’re free, totally liberated, from the stark colours of the real world, from the deep upset of suffering. Escapism in itself can be both a remedy and a dangerous precedent, but this is more than escapism: it isn’t burying its head in the sand because it’s already within you; it’s always been there.
Bålsam has conjured up a magical world. Gentle birds call out from the tips of those trees, and the muffled percussion helps to push the ripples outwards. But skulls stand on spikes in ‘The Ritual’, its rhythmically-precise, dull heartbeat involved in a dark practice, its bass swelling and fading and almost pushing the music into deep house territory.
It feels like a degree of suffering is needed in this life: it helps us to learn, to grow and eventually evolve, but Dream Landscapes has already dispensed with pain and unrequited feelings – it’s pushed past and progressed into peaceful, compassionate and forgiving music, reaching something like Buddhist enlightenment. A radiant smile lights up her face. We come here when we need to replenish our roots. When we need to pause. Life is like a dream, sweetheart.