Portland musician East Forest (aka Trevor Oswalt) is the midst of releasing a four-part project inspired by a visit to legendary spiritual teacher and author Ram Dass, that will culminate in a full-length album on August 9. A press release notes that "in June 2018, East Forest was invited to Ram Dass’ home in Maui to join in conversation and record brand new teachings from the legendary teacher. After capturing these words of wisdom, East Forest returned to his studio in the high desert of Southern Utah to compose the soundtrack to beautifully support each songs’ subject." Chapters one and two came out earlier this year, and chapter three comes out this Friday (6/21) with three new songs, including one featuring Laura Bird of Mynabirds and one featuring Stic of Dead Prez. We're premiering the one with Stic, "Electronic Sea," and it's a very cool mix of indie electronic pop and alternative hip hop that isn't far removed from Gorillaz. Here's what Stic says:

I really enjoyed the creative experience working with East Forest on the project. I was generally familiar with Ram Dass but hadn’t delved into his story that much. East Forest sent me Ram Dass’ book "Be Here Now" and it was full of insights about waking up and spiritual consciousness that I resonated with a lot. I loved the vibe of the track right away. East flew out to Atlanta and we met at the studio I use often and I was able to craft my lyrical contribution with his vision to guide me. There was so much we wanted to convey and the fun challenge was fitting it all inside the cadence and structure of the music while interpreting Ram Dass’ wisdom in my own way. It’s a different vibe for me but I like how it came out. Feels good and has an open quality about it.

And East Forest adds:

In this song Ram Dass portrays technology as the 'electronic sea' that we find ourselves in, which I feel is so deeply relevant. The subject he digs into feels more nuanced and layered than most of the other songs on the album, and so it gave us room for interpretation and the ability to add our own lyrical color from Stic and myself singing the hook. Stic and I spent time on the phone and in the studio digging deep into the meaning and direction of Ram Dass' words on this particular track as we worked to find a balance between painting around Ram Dass' words while complimenting his ideas without presenting an alternate divergent narrative. It was a challenge but also a lot of fun. This is the only track on the record that features an MC, and Dead Prez has always had social justice and consciousness in their hip hop, so Stic's style and lyricism was perfect. In the end I love the mash up of old and new, contemporary and dusty, all combining to bring the 88 year old Ram Dass right into the technological present moment as he offers his rich spiritual wisdom to something so incredibly current.

Listen below.

Chapter 3 Tracklist
Like Taking Off An Old Shoe AKA Death
SouLand (feat. Laura Bird of Mynabirds)
Electronic Sea (feat. Stic of Dead Prez)

More From Brooklyn Vegan