Album: Atlantis Trilogy: Brave New World
Artist: Robert Slap

f-AtlantisCOVERHaving been a new age music journalist for over 3 decades, the name of Robert Slap is one I’ve been familiar with for a long time. Recording artist and music industry professional, Robert Slap, recently celebrated his 50th anniversary in the music industry – a journey he calls: “from Motown to Atlantis.” The Motown part relates to his upbringing in Detroit, the home of the legendary Motown Records label. Robert became involved in music professionally at a young age, and in 1966, a band he played in called “Tidal Waves,” had a song that was a national Top 100 hit. The band signed a 3-year deal with Hanna Barbera Records in Los Angeles and went on to tour with the Animals, Dave Clark 5, Herman’s Hermits, Bob Seger, Mitch Ryder and the MC5. Quite an auspicious debut, to say the least!


Robert developed his career further by studying jazz improvisation and theory, as well as acting and theater, while supplementing his income by playing weekend gigs at local bars and clubs. During that time he was also a touring guitarist with David Ruffin of The Temptations, as well as various Motown artists. In 1970, Robert made the move that so many aspiring entertainment industry hopefuls make – to Los Angeles, where he went on to work with the legendary Drifters, and many others. He also developed his skills as a recording engineer, sound designer and producer, recording his original material as well as producing recordings for solo artists.


Crystal ChamberHowever, a change in direction occurred in 1982 when Robert went on to spend 10 years as music director at Valley of the Sun Publishing in Malibu, CA. who handled recordings in the then-fledgling new age music genre. Here’s where the Atlantis part of the journey begins, as his 1987 album Atlantis: Crystal Chamber put Robert on the map as one of the early new age artists, with the album becoming a classic. He has also created music for healing therapy used by doctors, hospitals, physical therapists, psychotherapists, churches and ministries throughout the world. Robert continued his education at UCLA and has accrued over 40 album credits, as well as recording as a solo artist for the last 25 years.


I’ve always been intrigued by stories of the fabled lost continent of Atlantis, so Robert’s music dealing with this subject attracted me right from the start. That first album came out when I was the music editor for a publication called New Frontier Healing TempleMagazine and it immediately went on my review list. Robert’s interest in Atlantis came about when he traveled to Mexico in 1983 to explore the pyramids of Teotihuacán. In his words: “I was always interested in the stories about the lost civilization of Atlantis as well as the history of ancient civilizations. I had read the book ‘Chariots of the Gods’ by Erich Von Daniken in the early 70’s and was quite fascinated with his theories. After returning to the states, I spent the next several years researching additional sources of the Atlantis legend, and from this came the idea to create a musical journey into the ancient civilization of Atlantis.” Five years later, Robert recorded the second album of the trilogy, Atlantis: Healing Temple.


After many more years of Robert working on music for film, TV, and documentaries, we arrive at the present, and the third installment in this musical trilogy. The album opens with “Crystal Chamber” which Robert describes as: “A labyrinth deep crystalsinside the Earth where select crystals and other natural resources were placed to generate the terrestrial power needed by the Atlanteans. Only a select few Wizards and Elders were ever allowed into the chamber.” However, we as listeners are granted musical access into this mystical world. The track opens appropriately with the sound of the sea and waves breaking upon the shore. A gong signals the beginning of our journey as flute and ethereal synthesizers lead us on. I particularly liked the gentle arpeggiated bell tones that provided a sense of motion and atmosphere. The music is richly orchestrated and is an intriguing mix of atmospheric sci-fi sounds and ancient ambience that brought to mind the retro-futuristic album art of classic records by Earth Wind and Fire. At twelve and half minutes in length, it is by far the longest track on the recording and creates a nice meditative space to immerse the listener in the Atlantean vibe.


The next track, entitled “Indigo” is described as “The special color of the Atlantean Wizards. It is the color of intuition and perception, promoting deep concentration during times of introspection and meditation.” Flute, strings, electric piano, synthesizers and choir sounds weave a magical spell as we move deeper into the antediluvian mysteries. Robert’s many years of recording expertise are evident throughout the album. One example is on a track called “Voices From The Past.” Listening with headphones I was aware of the mix, in which a harp sound was heard in the left channel, alternating back and forth with subtle electronic percussion, almost like a heartbeat, in the right channel. And speaking of beats, I enjoyed the foot-tapping groove on the next track, “Equinox.”


The album is steeped in the legends and lore that have come down through the ages about Atlantis. According to Robert, the 11195256_10101501497978187_1304997845_nsubject of a song called “Healing Temple” is described as, “the spiritual center of Atlantis, and it is believed the “OM” (highest spiritual sound of the universe) was first heard here. The Elders (aka; the healers) were telepathically connected, with advanced healing powers using color, light, sound and vibrations, mentally focusing their power through crystals.” This is one of the longer pieces on the album and I liked the way it flowed through various movements. It also featured something I had been waiting for – a taste of Robert’s exquisite guitar work, which he has been well known for over the years. His tasteful acoustic guitar lead was the highlight of the song for me.


If there is ever a movie made about Atlantis, a piece called “Wizards Journey” could work well in the soundtrack with it’s cinematic flair and interesting blend of sounds including a Japanese koto, flute, deep tympani-style drums, gongs, synthesizers, and marimba-like percussion loop. And following along these lines is the equally cinematic title track, “Brave New World.” This also has a number of different movements that range from powerful drum-driven sections to a quieter, more pastoral passage midway through. I really like the imagery evoked in what Robert wrote about the final track entitled “Epilogue” – “Imagine an Atlantean Wizard standing on the bluffs, looking out to the sea. Hear the mournful cry of the wooden flute, the very last song to be shared by these ancient beings. As the sea fades into tonal ambiance, we recognize this is the end of one incredible journey and the beginning of another. One day we may discover our true history, but until then all we have are the ‘voices of the past’.” This is a quieter, more reflective piece for the first two thirds, until it awakens with a flourish, evoking the promise of a new world; making for a perfect ending to this magical mystery tour of an album.


crystal-bw04 formatteAs I mentioned earlier, I’ve always had a great affinity for the legends and lore of Atlantis. In the third chapter of his Atlantis Trilogy, veteran musician Robert Slap has, once again created an imaginative soundtrack that brings this primeval mythos to life. There is a deeply metaphysical energy to this music that transcends time and space, connecting us here and now with an unimaginably ancient past. Like these Elders and Wizards of old, Robert is acutely aware of the power of music and sound. On this note, so to speak, I will leave the final words of this feature article to Robert, who shares: “Music is made to generate emotional response; life is a tapestry of ever-changing moods, colors, textures, and emotion. It reflects life and touches our souls’ strings, pulling feelings out with passion into the open. It is the only medium through which I can truly express my innermost feelings.”



Click the links below to hear samples and/or purchase the album: