‘Crystal Calm Volume 2’ by Theda Phoenix

Theda Phoenix has described this album as “her debut as a songwriter, featuring intimate love songs and messages for a sustainable, peaceful, transformed world.” That’s quite ambitious for just one album, but if you’re going to aim, you might as well aim high.

The album opens with some truly meditative music. “Calm Inception,” with its slow, thoughtful pace, is something that oughta make you slow down. Next, “Emerging,” which at 4:26 is about half as long as “Calm Inception,” continues in that same mode. There is little rhythm, and mostly only ambient melodic sounds on this and the other album tracks. There are wordless vocals in the background and what sounds like bells coming in and out of the mix at times.


Of all her desires for the effect this music may have on her listeners, “peaceful” is clearly the most operative one. This is music to meditate to. One must let it just wash over the mind and body, like poured out water from a waterfall or a shower. You will not be able to move to it, nor would you want to. Instead, you will wait patiently, as each melodic sound slowly makes its way to your ears and heart.

The most puzzling part of Phoenix’s description of this music is the part about it being filled with “intimate love songs.” This is not an album containing verses and choruses found in typical pop and rock music. Instead, there really aren’t a lot of solidly sung words on which to hold one’s grip. Therefore, one is left assuming that song titles alone foreshadow the meanings of individual songs. “Floating Bliss,” for example, may just be a happy song about a good relationship. Then again, it may not. “Surrender,” also, might be about how many times couples ‘surrender’ to each other in order to make a relationship work. Then again, once again, it may not be about that at all.

One of the greatest strengths of music is its ability to heal. It has properties that are nearly impossible to explain. For instance, when listening to these nine ambient songs, one’s body and heart rate immediately slow down. Like a set of adult lullabies, this music just puts the brakes on all hyperactive activity. How does it do this? There is nothing physically restraining the listener. Instead, the sound just tells the body what to do – which is to immediately slow down.


Theda Phoenix is certainly not for everybody. It takes time and attention to appreciate what’s been created here. You just have to give in to its mood and enter – if you will – Phoenix’s world. Children may instinctively get it. They don’t have a lot of the same pre-conceived ideas about what music should and shouldn’t be. Adults, on the other hand, just have so many more comparisons they can make. However, if you’re game for something that likely won’t meet your expectations for what recorded music should sound like, Crystal Calm Volume 2 will provide a unique listening experience. If the windchimes in your backyard ever started their own group, they just might have sounded something like this.

-Dan MacIntosh