For more than two hundred years between the sixth and fourth century BCE, masses thronged Delphi to hear Pythia’s prophecies and solutions to their problems. As a famed pilgrim spot, Delphi has been giving solace to millions. Before that, the two eagles flown by Zeus in opposite directions met at Delphi, declaring the spot as the center of the world. Delphi’s significance as a sacred spot ensues from several references and historic anecdotes. Rusty Crutcher has always enjoyed a special spiritual connection with Delphi, evident in his naming of this album.
Delphi was a seat of learning, a spiritual retreat, a classical theater, and a center for spiritual gatherings and sports. Explaining his allegiance to this sacred spot, Rusty Crutcher writes how Delphi had been inspiring his music and spiritual quest too, “One’s imagination is easily stimulated on the hills of Mt. Parnassus. Each day, I would walk and sit among the ruins, notating a melody, recording environmental sounds, or sketching out how a piece of music would progress. It is really just opening oneself to the place. Delphi has a lot to say to me.”
“Oracle Of Delphi” is themed as a spiritual voyage. Through his brilliant musical composition, Rusty Crutcher takes his audience on a virtual tour to sacred sites scattered across Greece. His inspired musical ideas are painted on nature’s stillness and serenity. He has made skilled use of the environmental sounds like how the 19th-century Barbizon painters had done. The soundscapes figuring in the album give a feel of Delphi. If you had already visited Delphi, you are bound to find your experience re-stimulated.
This is one of the most exceptional compositions I had a rare chance to listen to. The entire duration of the album for nearly about an hour transported me to unseen worlds of ecstasy and jubilance. I felt Crutcher’s music is liberating in the sense it breaks the barriers to language, geographies, and genres and connects the audience with the spirit that has inspired the composer. The effect the album left in me was highly soothing and the inspired moments did last for so long.
Rusty Crutcher is the mastermind that has composed, produced, engineered, and mixed this album. A distinguished work in the Sacred Sites Series, “Oracle Of Delphi” is produced by Emerald Green Sound Production. This musical work is mastered at AlgoRhythms by Michael MacDonald. The graphics art for the album has been accomplished by Saul Fineman at Fineman Communications
Though Crutcher has set his album on a classic spiritual theme, his composition in this album is unconventionally unique, putting it on a note endowed with a serious purpose. The artist has indeed achieved a masterpiece by synthesizing a wide range of interesting instruments like pan pipes, kithara, bells, drums, choirs, synthesizers, duduk, and sampling.
1. Miriam’s Wish 3:41
One of the seven major female prophets of Israel, Miriam was part of Moses’s team that delivered Jews from their exile in Egypt. Set in soft tones suggestive of expansion and deliverance, ‘Miriam’s Wish’ is the opening opus of the album setting the mood for the journey to unfold.
2. Itea Bound 5:04
Occurring on the traditional pilgrimage route from Port Kirra to Delphi, Itea has been a resting spot for the visitors heading to Delphi. Itea’s sylvan settings and nature’s best views duly reflect in the second opus giving respite amidst a hectic journey of life.
3. Aegean Reflections 5:45
Mimicking the sounds of breeze and ocean, the third opus Aegean Reflections gives a feel of pilgrimaging in the sacred Islands of the Aegean Sea.
4. Song Of The Muses 6:16
The fourth track following it is “Song Of The Muses”, evoking an ethereal mood and transporting the audience to the other worlds to listen to the voices of celestial beings. As the opus progresses, the listener is moved to deeper realms that were earlier unfrequented and filled with a lot of spiritual surprises.
5. Apollo Awakens 6:40
“Apollo Awakens” is the fifth opus and a rare kind of composition in many regards. As the music in this track unfolds, the audience experiences a nightly mood, slowly moving towards the daybreak, more light, and an expansive feeling. The artist conveys the spiritual theme of awakening so delicately with a lot of dexterity in handling music for a subtler purpose.
6. Center of the World 7:30
The sixth track titled “Center of the World” is the longest opus in the album playing for about 7:30 minutes. This composition has a mythological reference to Delphi where the two eagles flown in opposite directions by Zeus met, thereby announcing to the world that Delphi is the center of the world. Dedicated to the “Oracle of Delphi”, this opus is one of the best musical compositions in the album.
7. Pythia’s Trance 5:42
“Pythia’s Trance”, the seventh track is highly suggestive of meditative contemplation, trying to lead the audience through a spiritual quest within each one of us. The discovery everyone is bound to feel in this composition is going to be amazing and redeeming.
8. Vapors of Apollo 4:22
“Vapors of Apollo” is the eighth track in reference to the sacred spot Apollo, the most representative of the pilgrim destinations in Greece. Meticulously rendered, the music in this opus is sublimating.
9. Castalian Breeze 4:49
“Castalian Breeze” is one of the most fantastic compositions in this album, rich in sounds and known for the sense of fulfillment it delivers. The composer’s superior skill of synthesizing is evident in this opus preparing the audience for the close of the most satisfying pilgrimage.
10. Know Thyself 3:34
“Know Thyself”, the final opus leads the audience to the final destination of the revelation that every pilgrim finds as a result of the pilgrimage. The voyage is now complete and the message the artist wishes to convey is evident, “An elevating kind of spiritual journey is all about traveling within and discovering the divinity that is in every man”.
For the total duration of the album lasting 51:23 minutes, the composer keeps the audience spellbound in his captivity, while the heart travels with the music to discover the highest spiritual truth through the quest and virtual voyage.
Retreats are of different kinds and musical retreat is one such. To qualify as a retreat, a composition must be able to accomplish a deep work in the audience, relieving them from the stress of the mundane world and transporting them to an illumined and inspired plane. In this regard, Rusty Crutcher’s “Oracle of Delphi” has every characteristic to be labeled as a SPIRITUAL RETREAT that is truly liberating and inspiring. To get the best from this musical work, escape into solitude, close your eyes and open up your hearts. Being with yourself completely can let Crutcher’s music work deeply within.