Echoes Podcast: Lou Reed, Iasos, Steven Halpern

Opposites Meet with Lou Reed, Iasos and Steven Halpern in the Echoes Podcast

John Diliberto & Lou Reed

Before he died in 2013, Lou Reed created an ambient album called Hudson River Wind Meditations that tapped into his spiritual side. Now that the album is being re-released in a deluxe edition, we go back to our interview with Reed talking about it. Lou Reed was an iconic figure in modern music.  The founder of The Velvet Underground, he provided a counterpart to the hippies and flower power of the era, trawling a darker and seedier side of life.  As a solo artist, he did the same thing, with a lean, distorted guitar sound and songs that were often grittier than a back alley.  But there was  another side to Lou Reed as well, one that’s experimental and meditative.  One example came out on the 2007 CD, Hudson River Wind Meditations. It was an all-electronic disc of drones and ambiences. We don’t play Lou Reed often on Echoes for obvious reasons, but I thought: when else would I have an opportunity to interview him?  Lou Reed talks about a meditative river, in the Echoes Podcast from PRX.

We lost a pioneer of New Age music. He wasn’t as well-known as Yanni, Enya or even Steven Halpern. He didn’t record on signature labels like Windham Hill or Narada records. But Iasos was there at the very dawn of new age music in 1975 when he released his debut album, Interdimensional Music. Iasos mixed mysticism and music, crafting often expansive landscapes that we thought of as space music at the time, before New age took over as the marketing term.

Inter-Dimensional Music and Steven Halpern’s Spectrum Suite, released the same year, were the first trips into the modern new age movement. Iasos was born in Greece but grew up in America. He taught himself flute and piano and by the time he moved to the San Francsico Bay area, he was hearing a sound that wasn’t really out there yet. He combined his acoustic instruments, including lap-steel guitar.  with tape manipulations and synthesizers to create albums like Elixir, Jeweled Space and Realms of Light. These were subtle works that were often more avant-garde than new new age, but all had a mood. Iasos lived deep in the mystic, claiming his music came from other dimensions and citing works like Francis Bacon’s 16th century book, New Atlantis, as well as The Urantia Book. Iasos died on January 6. He was 77 years old. We remember him tonight on Echoes.

I interviewed both Iasos and Stegen Halpern in 1983 in their respective homes in the San Francisco Bay Area. I put those together in episode 16 of the radio series Totally Wired-Artists in Electronic Sound
You’ll hear the complete 28-minute episode in the Echoes Podcast



Read John Diliberto’s Tribute to Iasos

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