Celebrating Alan Watts’s 100th birthday year, Jas Walton sets early Alan Watts recordings to original grooves.
Alan Watts is one of the most important interpreters of Eastern philosophy for his time and ours. If he were alive today, he’d probably subvert social media in the same way he helped to reinvent western culture in his own time-his words are as relevant now as they were then.
This year, Watts turns 100. Figure & Ground honors his centennial with this four-track EP that takes the recordings of his early seminar sessions and sets them to original music. Alan’s wit and wisdom were first broadcast on radio stations in the Bay Area in the late ’50s and soon spread across America through public talks, tape recordings, books, and on screen. On his portable tape deck, Alan’s son Mark Watts captured hundreds of hours of his father’s seminar sessions. Alan Watts’s candid spirit comes through in these psychedelic Californian ruminations, intriguing incantations, and compelling thoughts on existence. It’s a trip.
A decade later, New York-based musician Jas Walton found these recordings. One day while experimenting with chord progression loops at home in Brooklyn, he decided to drop in Watts’ voice. He started nudging a few words and phrases around, and soon enough got carried away and strict about every word falling in the pocket. On the EP, Watts’s rhythmic phrases are set in time to Walton’s soulful grooves, textured with synth and horns. A top saxophone player in New York, Walton performed as part of the Luaka Bop’s William Onyeabor tribute shows and has played with Antibalas, The Roots, and Superhuman Happiness, to name a few.
We offer you here an introduction to the music of Jas Walton and a reintroduction to the world of Alan Watts.