The Book of Rounds is a collection of 21 songs, seven rounds in three chapters. A round is a melody that harmonizes itself as it repeats with voices flowing together in intervals and then building to melodic highs. The repetition of phrases can lead to a contemplative state. In a pamphlet accompanying the CD, we read:
"The rounds are both an expansive and intimate embrace of sound and meaning, offering messages that are revelations of what's best in ourselves and in others."
The first selections have been written for a cappella voices with simple but profound material on grace, beauty, and earth. The second seven were written with more extended phrases and richer harmonies. Here are rounds on shadow, time, and together. The final group is the most creative with additional piano accompaniment and on "Joy," a percussion surprise.
October Project creates what they call "spiritually transformative pop music." Marina Belica provides the lead vocals; Emil Adler, arrangements and music; and Julie Flanders, lyrics and back-up vocals. This talented group has performed together since they were teenagers and have sung professionally as October Project for over 20 years. For more information on them, visit octoberprojectmusic.com. Listen to samples of the rounds at SoundsTrue.com.
This is an uplifting collection of rounds that stir the soul and enchant the mind with their beauty and meaning.
In the pamphlet accompanying the CD is this short essay on "Ways to Listen" to the rounds:
"For those who practice meditation, or want to, the rounds provide a calm or rapturous companion to your explorations of the divine. For a deeply meditative experience or to induce a devotional state of clearing and grace, listening without interruption to the entire song cycle is ideal. The album is just over one hour long.
"If you have only three minutes, and would like a touch of inspiration, listen to a single round. Tune in its message and carry it with you as an affirmation for the day. Or put your player on 'shuffle' and allow yourself to be surprised and informed by the round that comes up.
"To explore differences in texture and voice, listen closely to one chapter at a time. The first is pure simplicity, the second set is more adventurous, and the third set is actively engaging. Each chapter is a coherent and wondrous experience.
"Remember, too, that the lyrics are designed to stand alone -- without music -- -as modest yet profoundly affective prayers, capable of alleviating energies of negativity, challenge, or difficulty. The titles of each round can be used as single-word mantras, just as the lyrics may be repeated over and over for a similar effect.
"If you enjoy singing, you will find that singing the principal melody of each round is an exhilarating experience, To download the melodies, we invite you to visit October Project’s website, octoberprojectmusic.com.
"Rounds lend themselves to a cappella singing, in which voices must tune as they come into relationship with each other. Round-singing is an enjoyable way to bring isolated individuals into harmony and resonance with one another as a group or community. The sum of voices is infinitely greater than any one of the parts, as the various egos are sublimated and come together toward oneness.
"But most importantly, you can listen for the pure pleasure of it. You do not have to be aware of why these songs are spiritually powerful in order to enjoy them. Put them on in the background and let them do the work for you."