Explorers of Infinity

Explorers Of Infinity IDEA 2

Explorers of Infinity (February 28, Nectar Drop Records) is the latest release from Marti Nikko and DJ Drez.

This new collection represents another sonic landmark in the evolving collaboration between these two yogis, artists and lovers. Producing a sound both familiar and ever-fresh, Drez and Marti continue to entangle their talents to create anthemic tracks that linger with the listener long after the song is over.

Endings arose as a potent theme as the album was recorded and produced in the couple’s home studio throughout 2016. For many of us, 2016 was a year of traumatic losses and sudden change as cycles came crashing to a close before the any sense of what next could congeal.

Collectively, we faced the deaths of too many paradigm-shattering artists. In their personal sphere, Marti and Drez also dealt with the devastating loss of dearly loved ones. The title of this project, Explorers of Infinity, alludes to the ineffable realm where these beings now dwell. It also speaks to the internal process of the yogi/artist, seeking to make internal sense of external suffering, exploring the limitless opportunities life offers to transmute pain into beauty and back again.

Directly reflecting the year in which it was created, a mournful tone permeates the album and finds counterpoint in moments of explosive intensity. The title track aches with gentle pain. Nikko’s voice alights sweetly, sadly over simple but potent piano notes most reminiscent of a Gil-Scott Heron-style jazz.

The mood is full of mourning but also the innate strength necessary to address suffering face-to-face. The mahamantra at the center of this song embodies the alternating currents of connection and separation — hare krsna, hare krsna shows the unification of lover and beloved; krsna krsna, hare hare shows the separation needed if there is to be space in which to dance. This incessant flux of oneness and otherness is a tidy summary of the human experience; it is the simultaneous source of all pain, all joy.

When the delicate suffering of “Explorers of Infinity” ends, like a feather settling to the earth, the album thunders into action with ground-shaking “Ganapati.” Suddenly there are drums, and a [sitar] riff portending imminent battle or upliftment. Chants of “Hey!” are a call to awaken from the slumber of mourning, a call to action. The invocation of Ganesha, the great remover of obstacles, invites boldness, and as the bass line drops into nimble bija mantra repetitions, the choice is clear. There is no time now for sullen self-pity; the only noble option is to carry on with greater fervor than ever before.

The impulse to combine such drastically contrasting moods arose partly from the experience of leading public workshops, wherein Nikko will guide a group through a given mantra in a very sweet, loving fashion before reproducing that same mantra with fierce passion and violence. The same way we humans contain within us all that is both powerful and meek, the mantras can be a vehicle for accessing every dark corner of ourselves and bringing it to light. The music presented on Explorers of Infinity reflects this and itself serves as a potent guide through the process of excavation, catharsis and resolution.

As fans of Marti and Drez will expect, Explorers of Infinity dances around the world of music. “Jai Sri Radhe” opens the album with a distinctly hiphop feel, with snappy snare hits and a steady hi-hat underlying Nikko’s soulful mantra variations. “Nataraja” is pure reggae, guaranteed to infect the brain with sattvic mantras whether or not you can accurately pronounce all the Sānskrit. “Bom Bom Shankara” engages a deep, slow dub-style decorated with jazzy saxophone solos.

Although there is an intelligent jazz sensibility demonstrated throughout the album, for this writer the key word is soul. The musical influences are diverse, but every single track is evidence of an authentically heart-felt intent to express a specific rasa, an essential flavor of feeling that cannot be forced or faked. It can only arise from the very experience of fury or despair, disgust or delight. The supreme source of such profoundly felt emotion is that ephemeral entity humans call soul. Marti Nikko consistently brings this element to bear, and Drez is just skillful enough to capture it, add musical context and publish it for posterity.

The album closes with a Nikko/Drez original composition called “Coming Home.” This sweet, ethereal piece honors those who have passed on from this realm, as well as those seeking an eternal home within themselves while still here. Continuing the exploration started on their previous album Alpine Swift, Drez contributes lyrics and baritone vocals to complement Marti Nikko’s soprano peaks.

It is a fitting conclusion to the album — intensely emotional, potentially sad but essentially hopeful. The lyrics seek to reframe the experience of death (be it physical, egoic, or otherwise) not as a loss, but as a return.

Lao-Tzu is commonly quoted as saying, “Birth is an exit; death an entrance.” In that context, we can feel reassured. The seemingly insane cycles encircling the world at the moment are little more than cosmic in-breath; our entire lives nothing but an out-breath. Our attempts to fix and solve leave us gasping for air until we are reminded to stop in the stillness at the top (or bottom) and catch our breath before the next exit. Once again, Marti Nikko and DJ Drez have created a soundtrack capable of providing such a reminder. Find it wherever you buy music.

La Luna Social Interview

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ON GRACE, RITUAL AND BEING AN ARTIST WITH MARTI NIKKO 

September 28, 2016

What is your morning ritual to cultivate clarity and grace (self care must do’s)?

Well technically there is no time for major self care when I first get up unless I were to wake up much earlier.  I value my sleep so I choose not to.  I have a family and my priority in the morning is getting my son ready and off to school.  I do usually have to do some kind of practice to feel like me.  Most mornings after school drop off it is an asana practice or a hike up a nearby mountain.  Its simple and attainable and both are vehicles for the breath so I try not to stress myself with ideals of an even more romantic morning self care ritual.

Who do you believe is your spirit animal and why? (optional) 

Hmmm.  In all my years no one has ever asked me what my spirit animal is.  I don’t give much thought to this either.  I will say I am very much like a lioness.  I protect and guard.  I give fierce love.  On good days I feel like royalty and generally I am comfortable with my strength and power. I have had many brave days where I face fears and challenges and with bravery I also know when to walk away.  When I am me, I don’t lurk in shadows and I feel no shame to hide.  Lionesses roar and well we all know I know how to do that on many levels.  No matter the sound it all comes from a deep place of love.  Actually come to think of it, I have a tattoo of a lion on my leg I had done when I was 19.  Now sometimes I feel like a bunny or a bear and most recently a sloth so the above take with a grain of salt.

What is the true essence of  your gift, your voice, “Marti Nikko”? 

Now what is essence really?!  Nature or quality that determines character?  I don’t know that I have an answer for this.  My voice is exactly that… my voice.  I make art with it.  It is my art.  Now people listen and it causes them to feel something.  To feel some kind of emotion that makes their body feel a certain way and even perhaps in that moment of listening, see a certain way.  Those things are then projected back to me as that quality.  You begin to hear reviews and friends and fans give a description of the essence of something that belongs to me.  Nothing negative about that process and projections.  Just the way it goes.  The moment I call my essence something I have created a box for it.  I don’t need a box for my voice.  It can get tricky using it, creating with it and sharing it as is.  Even in the deepest creative times, what comes out can be surprising, exciting, shocking, disappointing or even hard to accept.  Its best I keep a no boundary policy or wind up locked down.  That has happened before…that means no creating or sharing.  I want to keep creating and sharing.  I am most happy creating and sharing.

Name one muse that continues to inspire you?

Drez.  I know cliche…  He inspires me.  No lie about that.  Not because we are together and all the magic we create together but because of his incredible work ethic and passion for what he does.  He really puts his whole heart into every piece of art.  Every event he gives it all away.  He lays it right down in front of you and you get to be the one who chooses to take it or leave it.  Its mind-blowing that he hasn’t given up or wanted to quit.  I see what he goes through and it isn’t all laughs and joy.  It can be a painful process too.  He has been raw to the bone before and over and over again to do what he loves.  Through his dedication to his art he manages to somehow touch us all again and again.  He has to make music.  It is life.

What makes you feel Graceful and Victorious?  

When I give and love I feel graceful and victorious.  When I am creating and sharing I feel graceful and victorious.  When I can flow through the day using clean words and patience I feel graceful and victorious. When I move and chant I feel graceful and victorious.

How do you wish listeners to feel when they hear your music?  

This kind of ties in with the earlier essence question.  It is too much for my brain and heart to wish for listeners to feel a certain thing while listening.  That’s a set up for disappointment and heartbreak.  Do I hope people like it?  Enjoy it and feel it?  YAASSS of course I do.  I just can’t get into the details of a wish on how I want the sound to be interpreted.  That isn’t something I can control and definitely not something you want to get caught up in while you are creating your art.  OMG if I was worried while recording or writing I would be frozen with fear.  I have experienced this in fact so I know it to be true.  The artist is only responsible for the creating of the art and the possibility of sharing it.  The interpretation falls on the viewer of said art.

 What are your rituals in regards to the New Moon and Full Moon phases?  

Occasionally I will write out intentions or write down ideas about what I see for myself and my family.  I might go out and admire the fullness and beauty of a full moon or stand in the dark on the darkest nights without light and breathe.  I don’t have regular serious rituals though.  I am usually reminded that it is even happening because I saw a flash on instagram or an email about a moon event.  I do see the massive movement that is happening around the world that revolves around ritual and moon cycles.  What I love the most is the community of women and women creating community.  This is so special.  Women are strong and we need to be reminded of that but we also need to be reminded that we are not alone.

What is your current Mantra, Prayer or Affirmation that you pull up for support? (when you feel lack, depleted or low)

Om Mani Padme Hum I have used probably the most this year.  It has just seemed appropriate.  I have recently had to chant Saraswati’s name more regularly as well as various Krishna mantras.  Mantra is a huge part of my living practice.  To be clear no one mantra does it all for me.  All the names of God are names that I chant.  All of reality.  All grace.  All love.

What are you really excited about for 2017 and what were you grateful for in 2016?  

I had a challenging start for 2016 and I was so grateful to have my husband, family and friends by my side to help me and support me.  I am grateful everyday that I am still creating and sharing.  I am excited to be releasing my next album with Drez in 2017 should all flow well and it looks like we are getting close.  So so exciting!

To experience the sounds of this Song Bird please visit Marti and her Muse, DJ Drez will be sharing their gifts with us here in Edmonton, AB at this years 2016, Its Time To Bloom Fest.

For more information on woman gathering globally visit LA LUNA SOCIAL

 

 

ALPINE SWIFT

Alpine Swift MASTER Cover

DJ Drez just released ALPINE SWIFT!  Now available on iTunes, Bandcamp or your favorite digital download store:)  Of course I made my appearance on a few tracks. It was so much fun creating and singing with Drez on this project. This is a special one friends. Go and support this beautiful music and artist!  It deserves to be heard…

Read more about Alpine Swift below!

Welcome inside the mind of DJ Drez.

Soaring to new heights with his latest solo release, “Alpine Swift,” the Sound Ambassador invites us into his world of sonic seduction and sensuality as never before. Perhaps more personal and intimate than any prior release yet at the same time universally accessible and particularly relevant, the legendary LA-based beat maker and vibe-provider has crafted a slick, head-nodding soundtrack for the human experience. This union of seeming opposites is a thread that Drez brilliantly and effortlessly weaves throughout this musical tapestry as he also comingles old school roots with new school sensibility, etheric moods with boomin’, earthen, bass frequencies, spaciousness with fullness and even mystery and revelation.

“Alpine Swift” is incredibly thick with mood and feeling and this sultry, palpable aspect makes the album stand out as an instant electronic classic. In fact, Drez has more than upheld his underground handle Dr. Ez as the good Doc is clearly beyond graduate level in synesthesia – the experience of a sense impression through a mechanism other than the one receiving. The first words on the opening track, “Givin You Somthin,” make a prophetic declaration that might just be Drez’ mission statement – “I feel this sound.” Rare is a musician who can truly feel sound. Peerless may be the one who can transmit that experience to the listener. DJ Drez does just that on the self-released gem dropping on June 6, 2016.

Those first words are unique and delightfully foreshadowing as well, in that this album marks the first time ever that Drez steps out from behind the turntables and production side and up to the mic. Whether in sublime sample-like phrases that out-slick today’s dopest electronic and hip hop DJs, hooks that you will find yourself singing long after the record ends, and even poetry and rhyme that is profound, personal and mystical, Drez finding his voice for this monumental release will not only wildly please his long-time legions of fans, but will most definitely earn him countless new admirers and beat-bumpers across many musical genres.

Like the bird the album is named after, DJ Drez dazzles with his ability to stay elevated above trends, making timeless beats for the club, between the sheets and even for yoga practice. The Alpine Swift can stay in flight for up to seven months at a time, living mainly in the air and even sleeping and eating while flying. With a bird’s eye view and an ear to the streets, Ez does it again, flying to multi-dimensional levels of astral frequency, while keeping the headlights in the rearview mirror spiraling in deep, concentric circles.   Like the title track infectiously suggests, Drez delivers and keeps us chanting, “Take me higher!”

With a clear emphasis on a more downtempo electronic sound, soulful wisdom and feel, a confident straddling of the spiritual and material realms and a wicked 808 presence throughout effortlessly links the other sonic modalities, including some of the most bangin’ hip hop beats to hit the scene in years (title track “Alpine Swift” and “Out There”).   In characteristic Drez style, dub stylings, trap sprinklings and Jahta Beat spiciness subtly dance throughout the release as well.

No journey into the world of DJ Drez would be complete without the powerful voice and presence of his partner-in-crime, Marti Nikko. While technically a solo release, the addition of Nikko’s vocal flavorings makes “Alpine Swift” deliciously complete. Her nectar-like vocals, highlights and even duets, pose the perfect complement to Drez’ foray into MC’ing, particularly on stand out tracks “Into Space,” “Start,” and “Light Me Up.” Nikko also shines and delivers perhaps the most powerful message of the album on the track “Us,” putting everyone on notice, over a slammin’ electro hip hop beat, that she and Ez are taking over the airwaves. “Ya’ know you heard of us,” echoes knowingly through the sound system.

If ya’ don’t know, now ya’ know.

–John Smrtic

bhaktigrooveyoga.com

Marti Nikko Dj Drez

 

 

 

COVERED New Giveaway!

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We just released a free cover album called COVERED :)  You can get your free download at djdrez.bandcamp.com  I hope you enjoy it and thank you always for your beautiful support!  Drez and I appreciate it.

with love and respect, Marti

Beautiful Dreamer

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Beautiful Dreamer – My third mala release in collaboration with Bali Malas is up on my shop site.  A lovely japa mala to support your mantra practice and healing.

Rainbow Moonstone is the stone of divine inspiration, dreams. Following our dreams, finding the courage to welcome into our lives the inspiration, optimism, creativity, and all the joy that we can dream up! The knowing of truth, peace and excitement of the unimaginable. The 19 rudraksha destroy negativity and represent the beginning 1 and the end 9, the waxing and waning energies of the moon. Stay the course Beautiful Dreamer and light up your life!

These malas are lovingly made in Bali. Each bead has been hand picked, blessed, and chosen for its “energy” level. A rudraksha is believed to impart different types of benefits according to the number of segments (similar to that of an orange) or mukhi. We use only rudrakshas of five mukhi. It is traditionally believed that they can destroy negative thought and grant the wearer peace of mind, clarity, and purpose.

Check them out!

I AM LOVE Mala

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I am so excited to share with you the I AM LOVE mala. My second release in collaboration with Bali Malas. I wanted to create a japa mala that was not only beautiful but a powerful sacred counting tool to support your mantra practice and healing.  FullSizeRender  FullSizeRender copy

Rainbow moonstone and rose quartz. This powerful mala is a tool for awakening us to the love we already are. Surrendering inward to the depths of our own being to the light that continues to kindle the heart, the light that sustains us through dark times. Rainbow moonstone lights up the body as rose quartz activates it’s healing. Trusting the inner light of your heart. Dissolving anger and resentment while fostering forgiveness, empathy and reconciliation. I AM LOVE.

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***I have already sold out of the first shipment but should be receiving some really soon. To purchase when back in stock, click the shop link!  If you would like to be on the waiting list for for the next batch, please feel free to email me.  Video coming soon on how to use a japa mala for those who need a little guidance! Sending you all so much love. Thank you always. With love and respect, Marti

I AM LOVE on iTunes

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I know it has been a little while since I have posted!  Here to let you know that the I AM LOVE single is available now on iTunes. A beautiful mantra for everyone! ~with love Marti Nikko & DJ Drez

 

Dreaming in Sanskrit Western Canada Tour. THANK YOU.

Dreaming in Sanskrit Bhakti Yoga DJ Drez Marti Nikko

Its been a little while since I have updated my site.  It took us a bit of recovery time from our 7 city tour in 9 days!!!  We had so much fun touring Western Canada and bringing the Dreaming in Sanskrit experience.  It was incredible to hang with such beautiful yoga communities that showed up and blasted us with their hearts!  A huge THANK YOU to Robindra and Myrah, the creators of BLOOM and our many supporters along the way.  It truly is better together.  If I am lucky, I will see you all again soon… with love~ Marti

Dreaming in Sanskrit Edmonton Dreaming in Sanskrit Red Deer Dreaming in Sanskrit Canmore Dreaming in Sanskrit Calgary Dreaming in Sanskrit Kelowna Dreaming in Sanskrit Victoria Dreaming in Sanskrit Vancouver Dreaming in Sanskrit Red Deer Dreaming in Sanskrit Canmore Dreaming in Sanskrit KelownaYoga Marti Nikko DJ DrezMarti Nikko DJ Drez Dreaming in Sanskrit Kelowna Marti Nikko DJ Drez Dreaming in SanskritMarti Nikko DJ Drez EdmontonMarti Nikko DJ Drez Semperviva VancouverMarti Nikko DJ Drez Myrah Penaloza Dreaming in Sanskrit YogaCanmore BLOOM DJ Drez Marti Nikko Dreaming in Sanskrit BLOOM

 

 

***DREAMING IN SANSKRIT OUT NOW***Plus another free download!

DREAMING IN SANSKRIT

We are so excited that Dreaming In Sanskrit is here!  Purchase and leave a comment/review on iTunes to help encourage others who are listening.  Thank you for your continued support and getting us to the #1 spot on iTunes World!  https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/dreaming-in-sanskrit/id957554556

To show our appreciation for all the love we have been receiving, we created this FREE download just for you.  ENJOY!

Saraswati’s Wild Side http://djdrez.bandcamp.com/track/saraswatis-wild-side

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NEW VIDEO!!! Marti Nikko & DJ Drez – MAHA YOGI (Dreaming in Sanskrit)