Laraaji ‎– Essence / Universe



Essence 28:00
Universe 28:00

Versions (6)

Cat# Artist Title (Format) Label Cat# Country Year
SYN 310 Laraaji Essence / Universe(LP, Album) Audion Recording Co SYN 310 US 1987 Sell This Version
SYNCD 310 Laraaji Essence / Universe(CD, Album) Audion Recording Co SYNCD 310 US 1987 Sell This Version
SYNC 310 Laraaji Essence / Universe(Cass, Album) Audion Recording Co SYNC 310 US 1987 Sell This Version
WAST037CDPROMO Laraaji Essence/Universe(CD, Album, Promo, RE, Pla) All Saints WAST037CDPROMO 2013 Sell This Version
WAST037CD Laraaji Essence/Universe(CD, Album, RE) All Saints WAST037CD Europe 2013 Sell This Version
WAST037LP Laraaji Essence/Universe(LP, Album, RE, Ltd, Cle) All Saints WAST037LP UK & Europe 2013 Sell This Version


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January 14, 2015
referencing Essence/Universe, LP, Album, RE, Ltd, Cle, WAST037LP

My copy from All Saints isn't perfectly circular - it's got a rough elongated edge, and the centre hole is punched too large, causing the record to wobble a bit on the platter. I don't know if that's what makes the record sound out of tune throughout, or if that's actually what both sides sound like. Celestial Music 1978-2011, released in the same year, was a greater achievement from the label and artist in my opinion, though I greatly appreciate Laraaji's devotion to his craft.


November 1, 2014
referencing Essence / Universe, LP, Album, SYN 310

A beautiful record and gorgeous cover. I had the chance to ask Laraaji about the cover and was told me he took the photo himself! His personality really comes across in his work; harmonious, serene, yet still playful and full of love & light.


July 18, 2014
referencing Essence / Universe, LP, Album, SYN 310

This LP contains two tracks that employ an apparently identical method: Laraaji improvises on his zither for about a half an hour, and Richard Ashman electronically shapes the melodious sound as light reflecting in undulating banks of mist and liquid. There's almost no means to identify any individual moment within each track; they are always changing, and always the same. Yet neither piece ever feels redundant or less than engaging. The overall effect is enigmatically mesmerizing. There is a strong sense of comfort and love evoked which is sustained throughout. The sound is never cloying, but simply natural and inevitable. I feel fortunate to have discovered this recording.