There are many benefits of meditation, one of the biggest being the calming effect it has on your mind. I am by no means a meditation guru — it’s something I’ve only started kind of recently — but already, meditation has had some pretty transformative effects on my life. I can fall asleep more easily at night, my focus is sharper during the day, and I’m better equipped to distance myself from emotions that might otherwise be unproductive. However, there’s another benefit of meditation that came as a surprise to me. It’s a surprise which I wholeheartedly welcome. And that’s this: because I am able to quiet my mind, I’m able to appreciate music more fully. Had I never learned how to become an active listener, Junip’s self-titled album is something I probably would’ve passed on. That would’ve been a damn shame, because Junip makes some beautiful music.
Junip is a three-piece band from Sweden. Jose Gonzalez, who has created a name for himself with his solo work, is the most well-known member of the group. He’s joined by Tobias Winterkorn on keys and Elias Araya on drums. The band’s sound is progressive and experimental with elements of jazz and psychedelia, yet the album retains consistency with its relaxed groove and ever present tranquility.
There aren’t any tracks on this album that are especially hard-hitting, nothing that’s going to jump out and hit you over the head. You have to go into Junip with a calm mind. You have to be patient and receptive, and you have to be willing to open yourself up to the music. That’s when Junip opens itself to you.
It’s not until you’re sitting back and not really thinking about anything that the album starts to embrace you. To surround you. To take you in. You don’t even realize it’s happening until it already happened. Then all of a sudden you’re immersed and you’re like, “Whoa. There’s this whole other world going on here. I can’t believe I almost missed that.”
One of my favorite tracks on the album is the contemplative “Your Call.” Serving as both a reflection and a caution, Gonzales sings, “It’s your life, it’s your call; stand up, or enjoy your fall.” The gist is to get your $hit together or have your life turn to $hit. The whole “life-is-what-you-make-it” idea is practically my mantra. So it’s no wonder why this song in particular spoke to me.
Another one of my faves is “Walking Lightly.” If you do nothing else, then please just check out this one track.
As the title suggests, “Walking Lightly” is a lighter song. It’s uplifting, the most upbeat track on the entire album. It completely drew me in and I found myself listening to it over and over again. In true Junip form, it’s not a song you guzzle; it’s one you soak up.
Come soak up all of Junip’s music with me tomorrow, Sunday the 16th, at Union Transfer. (Doors open at 8 pm; tix are $18.) I’m pumped to see what these guys are like live.