Where Olivia Newton-John once got Physical, Sarah Slean is getting metaphysical. Her latest album is Metaphysics, due out this spring and available for preorder at pledgemusic.com. Songs include Cosmic Ballet, a lush existential rumination much different than Newton-John's spandex-based allusions from the the early 1980s. As for what's occupying her mind these days as she puts the finishing touches on her first recording in five years, the singer-songwriter's current fixations run deep, from sci-fi reflections to a lost bard to heavy biocentric ideas.
What she saw: "I think Denis Villeneuve's Arrival is a near-perfect film – a compelling, revealing story about ourselves and our time, told with intelligence and tenderness. It sparks that juicy, wide-lens inner reflection about the nature of things – particularly time, language and being human. I treasure any art that leaves this kind of enduring echo in the mind."
What she read: "I'm Your Man, Sylvie Simmons's 2012 biography of Leonard Cohen, is excellent and exhaustive. I was particularly moved to learn of the beautiful bond Leonard shared with his Buddhist teacher Roshi. It is weirdly comforting to discover that Cohen, who in my world is a spiritual giant, was often just as profoundly lost as the rest of us."
What she's tuned into: "I've been spending hours painting one-of-a-kind, handmade editions of my new album. For this, podcasts are ideal. CBC's Ideas is my go-to. The range of topics is vast, and the production and interviewing are world class. I particularly loved a recent episode on biocentrism with Robert Lanza, in which he presents a radically new metaphysics – one where life and consciousness are the centre and source of the universe. Whoa. Something in me lights up when science, spirituality and technology overlap."