David Starfire – Karuna
Revered as “one of the most brilliant world-fusion producers of our time,” Los Angeles-based, veteran electronic music producer David Starfire returns with his highly anticipated, fifth album, Karuna (which can be purchased here). Karuna, which translates to “compassion” in Sanskrit, represents the first time an electronic musician has worked on an entire album with musicians who are Burmese refugees. This happens to be the main focus of the album, as the proceeds from Karuna will go directly to Thai Freedom House, a non-profit located in Chiang Mai that provides free education to Burmese refugees.
Aside from its noble mission geared towards educating Burmese refugees, David Starfire’s Karuna features a slew of collaborations from musicians in the Burmese refugee town of Mae Sot, including harp player and social activist Doo Plout, featured on the track “Tenaku” alongside composition from William Close and The Earth Harp Collective as well as vocals from prominent social activist and harp player, Chi Suwichan heard on “Y’wa.” Also featured on the album is Burmese stroh violinist Len Pong, vocalist Gonlao, temple drummers from Wat Pa Pao and Wat Tung Salee, electronic artist/violinist Govinda, violinist HÄANA, hammer dulcimer player Jamie Janover, vocalist Oriel Poole, and vocals from legendary visionary artist Alex Grey, who lends his voice to the track “One,” not to mention, stunning cover art from esteemed digital painter Android Jones.
Karuna boasts a lush soundscape rich with multiple layers of contrast due to the seamless integration of Eastern and Western scales against the juxtaposition of native and modern instruments, as it incorporates glitched violins, delayed xylophone, gamelan, homemade harps, buffalo horn flutes, and Burmese vocals. This pristinely executed album proudly displays the complexity and versatility of Burmese musicianship layered expertly against the texture of booming bass lines and seductive synths, making it an exciting, fusion journey through indigenous music with modern, electronic production methods.
To commemorate the release of Karuna, David Starfire will descend on Los Angeles for an album release party at Santa Monica’s Zanzibar on Wednesday, March 2nd 2016. Hosted by The Luminous Movement, the evening features sonically salacious supporting sets from Rhythmstar, Imagika Om and Electric Dandelion. RSVP to David Starfire’s Los Angeles Karuna Album Release Party here. Starfire will be devoting 2016 to touring in support of the album, including an album release party in Toronto on Friday, March 5th, as well as performances on the festival circuit, beginning with Tree Fort Festival and Lightning in a Bottle.