SINGING BOWLS VOLUME 6:
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Absorbed in the Voice of Fire.
34" PAISTE Symphonic Gong moves amongst the lively interactions between the
Yang and Yin bowl sets with 23 Yang bowls and 42 Yin bowls laid out in spiral
patterns alongside one another and the Gong suspended behind and between them.
Be at Peace.
peaceful sequence using only the Yang bowls leaving them plenty of space to work
their sound magic. The Yang bowls are very stilling and bring us in touch with
slightly more active sequence - again using only the Yang bowls but here
exploring a wider range. Yang bowls seem to prefer to work alone as individuals.
They possess a cleansing property and, also, being attuned to the vertical axis,
they help to align us with our aspirations upwards. Each bowl rings on and on
whilst producing a very specific and clear combination of harmonics. More
closely aligned to meditation, I prefer to allow their sounds to remain largely unencumbered
with too much complexity.
Encircling Peaks on the Boundary of Fire. (13-1-2005)
between the two spirals of Yang and Yin bowls are a set of four medium-pitched
singing bowls exploiting sympathetic resonance as a magic carpet for the two families
of spirals to play upon. The
Boundary of Fire here refers to Shambhala.
Enfolded in the Cape of Singing Fire.
is the third of the four improvisations played upon the magical Yin bowl spiral.
Only Yin bowls are used. These have a very beautiful opening effect. There were
42 laid out and their microtonal intervals are exploited whilst leaving them
plenty of space to work their sound magic.
Several techniques were used but these truly
come into their own when played in sequential runs. No electronics are used -
what you hear is totally produced by these instruments alone.
listen please click HERE
(There are NO electronics - what you hear is what my ears heard!)
Fiery Penetration of Darkness.
improvisation featuring the set of 23 Yang Bowls and 42 Yin bowls and also
including a set of 6 Bhutanese Yang bowls and the 34" PAISTE Symphonic
Gong. The floating harmonics of the Bhutanese bowls underlie the dynamic distinction
between the Yang and Yin bowl families in this improvisation whilst the Gong
floats in upon each hovering cloud cluster of Yin bowls.
improvisation featuring the set of 23 Yang Bowls and 42 Yin bowls and also
including a set of 6 Bhutanese Yang bowls. The floating harmonics of the
Bhutanese bowls underlie the dynamic contrast between the Yang and Yin bowl
families in this improvisation.
Garment of Singing Golden Fire.
is the first of four improvisations exclusively featuring the delightful Yin
bowl spiral. There were 42 laid out and here we
open ourselves up to their wonderful world of shimmering
harmonics in richly textured sonic clouds (derived from
microtonal intervals of this collection) whilst leaving them plenty of space to
work their sound magic.
This matchless assortment of bowls, collected
over more than 20 years, produce a remarkably beautiful, rare, and unique sonic
experience. No electronics are used - what you hear is totally produced by these
Living by the Light of Love.
6 Bhutanese Yang bowls are here further joined by two Sacral Chakra bowls all
positioned between the two spirals of bowls (23 Yang Bowls on the listener's
Left and 42 Yin bowls on the listener's Right). The two deeper bowls mixing in
with the buoyant harmonics of the Bhutanese bowls here providing a heartfelt
warmth underlying the foreground dissimilarity between the Yang and Yin bowl
families that yet work together in this improvisation.
Singing Bowl Temple. (15-1-2005)
total improvisation upon a selection of 65 Singing bowls. A special antique bowl
is here used to provide a central focus upon the experience of intensely deep
Monastery in the Mountains.
Yang and Yin bowl families are here joined by a small set of Chinese Qing
(sometimes called Buddha Bells). The sound characteristics of the Chinese Temple
Bells produce another timbre alongside the contrasting Yang and Yin bowls.
delightful sequence using only Yin bowls. By and large these are of the Manipuri
variety. There were 42 laid out and their
microtonal intervals are explored whilst leaving them plenty of space to work
their sound magic.
This was the fourth and final improvisation.
No electronics are used - what you hear is totally produced by these instruments
Milarepa's Secret Language of the Mountains.
34" PAISTE Symphonic Gong here enters the dialogue between the two
contrasting bowl families of Yin and Yang.
Metals Singing of Divine Fire.
total improvisation upon a selection of 65 Singing bowls rich in overtones and
exploring their harmonic relationships. The spiritual sound qualities of a 13th
century singing bowl here provides the focus for this improvisation arising from
the realm of divine fire.
of these pieces were recorded during January of 2005 and I had all of my bowls with me (over 200)
. The improvisations were each recorded in
one take with no overdubs or multi-tracking and no mixing and no electronic
effects whatsoever. You are hearing the pure unadulterated sound of these
wonderful singing bowls. Finally, on the second day, two microphones were found to work best and
off we went!
this series of improvised recordings I had laid out in two spirals adjacent to
one another, a set of (23) Yang bowls and a set of (42) Yin bowls
and behind me either my 34" PAISTE Symphonic gong (bought in 1973) or my
PAISTE Tuned Symphonic gong that I bought in 1979. After exploring this preliminary
set-up I decided to add smaller sets of bowls in-between these two spirals e.g. a set of Chinese
Buddha Bells. Scheduled
into the recording sessions were two concerts - one on the Friday night and one
on the last day, the Saturday evening. This meant that during Saturday the
arrangement of singing bowls was left over from the Friday evening concert. This
array was rather akin to a normal concert with a horseshoe-shaped constellation
of (here) some 65 singing bowls placed in-between the sets of Yin and Yang
bowls. On Saturday there was time for 3
improvisations upon this alternative set-up but these didn't feature the family of Yin bowls
and only a few of the Yang bowl spiral sometimes joined in. Tracks #10 & #14
arose from these final spontaneous improvisations.
A photo of Frank's typical set-up. 2005 by Rose
The Yin spiral at the top of the picture and
the Yang spiral at the base.
majority of improvisations were performed upon this initial set-up being as time
did not permit me otherwise.
I like to work with
silence - allowing the bowls to move in and out of silence and allowing them to
decay. This is demanding, as the bowls aren't noisy instruments, and the studio
wasn't completely sound proof. It has been very rare for me to record in
sound-proofed studios since 1983. My creativity is not the kind that generates
large sums of money that would allow the comfort of recording in a noise-free
had hoped to have had the time and opportunity to explore other combinations of
bowls but that desire will have to wait.
combinations of instruments were used for these improvisations and I have never
used any of these combinations before and there were no rehearsals. This created
a uniquely inspiring and stimulating improvising environment for me to explore
and enjoy. Whilst the opening arrangement was still laid out, it seemed natural
to do some improvisations exploiting both the Yin group and the Yang group
alone. In performance, there are generally musical sections devoted to either
one or both of these sets of bowls. However, I had recently added some extended
techniques, especially within the Yin Bowl spiral, and it was one of my wishes
to record some improvisations exploring these extra compositional devices. These
two groups of bowls are typically placed either side of a large horseshoe-shaped
set-up of around 70 other bowls, or more, placed in-between them. There is
usually some 15 to 25 feet between these two sets and so they are never played
in the combination, explored for the first time, here. During a live concert, it
is not unusual for me to spend an amount of time playing amongst the set of Yang
bowls and that of the Yin bowls and so playing improvisations upon these sets
alone is somewhat familiar.
CD precedes (and yet arises from) the first in a Series of 5 CDs entitled HIMALAYAN
STUDIES (TIBETAN SINGING BOWLS Volumes 7 to 11). The Series HIMALAYAN
not intended to be a Series but as time passed by more and more pieces unfolded
within the context of this project until a Series evolved - seemingly by itself. I
had just over enough for 4 CDs - which nicely celebrated my 4 decades of
This series also features a
departure from my previous habit of including fairly extensive liner notes with
the CD booklet. This CD and the 5CD series will feature a minimum of details inside the liner
notes with more of my customary extensive notes provided on this website for
those seeking more information. Apart from the information contained on this
page, you can read more concerning the tracks on this CD by clicking HERE
a result of several invitations by Ian Dale of Amphonic to visit him and record
at his studio, we finally decided to arrange this for January 2005. I visited
his studio with the intention of recording at least a few extra pieces to
complete Volume 4 of the HIMALAYAN STUDIES Series. All of my bowls were with me
in order to feel free to record as many pieces as would unfold during my stay.
As a result, quite a number of pieces did unfold in the time and circumstances
allowed to myself. Many of these extra pieces feature on this CD.
original idea to record shorter pieces in one single take is totally fulfilled
in this one CD.
from those pieces inspired by a specific Roerich painting, all the titles were
given upon listening back afterwards and, whilst they embody the energy of each
improvisation so, too, they reflect the nature of the days recordings. My
recording encounters were unmatched with any experienced during over thirty
years of recording and the Panic Bowl had to be used. After that tremendous
magical energy shift, we began to successfully record the improvisations. Each
piece was a spontaneous improvisation with no reference to whatever had occurred
previously - except for several versions of specific pieces that were musical
interpretations of specific Roerich paintings that appear mostly on Volume 4 of
the HIMALAYAN STUDIES Series (the several versions occurring simply because of
problems encountered during recording).
2004 many new pieces came through me. I found that many of these pieces
indicated a new direction in my work. Originally, in 2002, I had it in the back
of my mind to release a CD of Singing Bowl music featuring short tracks that
were mostly improvised - without any over-dubs. My
Heart a Flame within the Eternal Fire was one of the first
attempts. This improvisation was recorded in the Whitefeather Room of my home
upon a group of specially selected singing bowls. During
2004 I began to actualise this intention even more by dedicating more time to
it. As I focussed my creativity upon short pieces (4 to 7 minutes in length)
they simply continued to unfold. I just went with the flow working on the pieces
as they arose in my creative consciousness regardless of whether they featured
over-dubs or not and despite whether their length conformed to my predetermined
parameters or not. This is not unusual within my form of total improvisation
where flexibility is valued. As the number of the collection of such pieces
rose, I also realised that I had been making music for 40 years. So it was
that a set of 4 CDs suggested itself only to transform into 5 CDs with the fifth
and final CD in the series being something of a quintessence of my work
comprising a retrospective of my solo recordings made over these past 4 decades. However,
a few more pieces would help to fill up the fourth volume of the series and so I
intended to use the session at Amphonic to record several improvisations and
choose a few to meet that need. Many new pieces were recorded with enough left
over to fill this CD. I had intended to release it some time later this year but
it seemed to me rather contrived to do it that way and so it suggested itself to
me as being Volume 6 in my Tibetan Singing Bowl Series and so to precede the set
of 5 - even though it was recorded at the end of that creation.
and large the music is focussed upon Tibetan Singing Bowls and sometimes there
are also Bengali, Manipura, Bhutanese, and Himalayan Bowls, Chinese Qing (Resting Bells),
and Symphonic Gongs (PAISTE).
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Copyright by Frank Perry 2005. All rights reserved.
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