Various Artists – Pod Tune [Pod Labs]

whale cover vinyl final D

Glancing at the cover of the Pod Tune compilation, one could be forgiven for being tempted to tacitly classify it as a new age album out of time, a flashback to a time when instrumental music was often preoccupied with a desire to connect meditatively with the natural world. Indeed whale sounds were not at all unheard of as a means to evoke a particular atmosphere in the recordings of the time and Paul Winter‘s 1991 album Whales Alive even implements a similar concept of integrating whale song into a sort of asynchronous collaboration.  But Pod Tune is a bolder, more focused, and more experimental take on this concept of a creative musical partnership between humans and whales.

“Our aim is to bring whales into people’s lives in an accessible and positive way. We seek to strengthen our connection to the whales in the hopes that more people will choose to take better care of our oceans and all of the life that lives there. We also intend to support the efforts of organizations on a similar mission. Finally—and perhaps most importantly—we wanted to make something beautiful, daring, and fun.” – co-producer Jessica Gardiner

Have a listen and gradually any preconceptions suggested by past experience vanish as a much deeper experience develops. Yes, there are some tracks here that evoke some new age sounds and tropes, featuring ethereal tones, shimmering lushness, and world fusions. That is only fitting and contributes to the sonic diversity of an album with a global reach. But there is also a generous amount of experimental ambient music that is much darker in hue and heavier in texture from artists such as Loscil, Roly Porter, Christina Vantzou, Mikael Joergensen, Eric Holm, and William Basinki.


Pictured (left to right, top to bottom): producers Harold Linde, Jessica Gardiner, & Rob Ganger, composer/musicians Loscil, Roly Porter & Cynthia Millar, Ugis Praulins, Mikael Jorgensen, Christina Vantzou, Jacob Kirkegaard, li daiguo, Eric Holm, William Basinki, Sugizo, Greg Ellis, Geasong, John X Volaites & Earthstar Continuum 

The common thread is the whale song which is thoughtfully and prominently integrated into each track. These sounds are not superimposed over the music simply to create an atmosphere or mental imagery, but as a truly collaborative part of each composition. The recording values are outstanding throughout and fully up to conveying the ambitious scope as well as the cavernous resonance and ponderous mystery of these colossal ocean denizens. Listen all the way through and it is impossible not to come away awe-struck and hauntingly affected.

Pod Tune is available on CD and vinyl as well as a digital download with proceeds from sales being used to help support Ocean Alliance and Blue Mind

More information/Orders

Sample track:  ‘Altus’ by Locsil / ‘The Way Out Is Back’ by Christina Vantzou