Deep Breakfast [Side 2] by Ray Lynch: Nourishment from Beyond
The cover of Deep Breakfast is salmon pink. An oil painting, commissioned from one of Lynch’s friends, looks rather like a Hubble telescope image. The font is clean, minimal. A note on my cassette’s cover insert reads “Evelyn slapped Raymond on the back with a laugh, “You must be starved, old friend. Come into my apartments, and we’ll suffer through a deep breakfast of pure sunlight.”” It is taken from a text referred to as “The Mummery by Love Ananda”. This text is elusive, for Ray Lynch took it from a book by Lynch’s spiritual leader which was, at the time of the production of the album in 1986, unpublished. It was published in 2005 as The Mummery Book and its author is listed as Adi Da Samraj.
Adi Da Samraj took many names. Born Franklin Albert Jones, he was known in various parts of his life as Bubba Free John, Da Free John, Da Love-Ananda, Da Kalki, Da Avadhoota, Da Avabhasa, as well as other names not listed on Wikipedia. Adi Da experimented with a sample platter of religions--the Lutheran church, Sidha Yoga, Russian Orthodox, and Scientology. He eventually went on to form his own religion, Adidam. It’s difficult to parse information about Adidam, though not for lack of content online. A quick search reveals a long list of lectures and articles promoting the teachings of Adi Da, each littered with commenters by followers who have nothing but positive things to say. Between the secular association of Adidam with cult mishaps such as the events at Jonestown and Rajneeshpuram, and the intense devotion of followers, realism is hard to find.
Yet for the sake of understanding Lynch’s music, let us put realism aside and return to the quote which inspired the title. This album is an invitation to breakfast for those who are just waking up and are hungry. The hunger which the album attempts to solve is a spiritual one. The breakfast is an emotional one, interspersed with moments lost in distraction of the morning’s ambience. Perhaps gentle touches are shared, perhaps a return to bed. All in conversation with the spiritual. Lynch is meticulous in his composition, yet in spite of all his precision, or perhaps because of it, he manages to capture a broad range of deep-felt emotion while ever looking above to the beyond.
Almost immediately upon listening to the track “Rhythm in the Pews”, the whistling, sunny synths bring to mind the cult hit Plantasia by Mort Garson, compositions for growing plants. It could be the background music to a cutesy GameBoy video game or a cell phone ringtone. The melody is prominent, upbeat, and cheery. Somehow the guitar sounds like an early morning bird. The world is being greeted. Yet among the sunshine, a melancholy oboe-like synth plays arpeggios. Lynch tosses his spacy, cosmic synth glitter about and choral soprano sounds over the track.
“Kathleen’s Song” is one of longing, as captured by the langor of Ron Strauss’s viola. You feel as if you are being lifted up and away by the Celtic-sounding flutework of Beverly O’Mahoney. The synths remain ever cosmic. The piece ends with a chord that is not quite resolved, an arpeggio that doesn’t do much more to resolve it, and a personal desire for some spiritual resolution and sense of peace and restoration.
Lynch takes us on a stroll in “Pastorale”, the alberti-esque bass guiding us through the hills of the mind at an andante pace. His beloved oboe-like melancholy synth interrupts as if asking us to stop and ponder a sight--a leaf, perhaps. It becomes sorrowful, yet moves ahead in determination. This synth functions as the internal monologue of the piece, itself a dance between movement and thought. A harpsichord synth resounds as if a memory is triggered by a particular sight. In the upper register, a soprano synth buzzes around like bees to a flower. Whooshing and choral synths remind you that you are not alone on your stroll. The piece concludes with a high note and a swish toward the heavens.
The synths at the beginning of “Tiny Geometries” are raindrops falling on your bedroom window. Arpeggios ascend upward. You step out of bed and stretch your arms, pulling your tendons and your fingers to the ceiling, to the sky. With the synth melody, you twist your head and feel the pull on your neck. The orchestral strings are grand--what was it that you dreamed about? The raindrops return to the forefront of your mind. All the things going on around you. You begin to notice a marimba synth just as it is swept away. God is the orchestral depth to the synth melody of your prayers. The environmental chattering ebbs in and out, interspersed with God’s orchestral messages.
This album is very much about the intense emotion each human experiences with an accompaniment of the spiritual and natural realms. It is an album of devotion, seldom found. If this is Lynch’s surrender of autonomy to a cult leader, it is still admirable, still a profound human experience. He navigates the many layers of what it is to be human in a complimentary yet emotionally overwhelming series of compositions. The inside of the cassette insert laments that his music has fallen by the wayside to pop in spite of its genius. Perhaps, like many impactful journeys in life, it is better left to be stumbled upon.