Gratitude to countless generations of Artisans who listened to the
Grand Muse; who practiced, even mastered the Art of expressing the
resonance and coherence of the Universal Aum; who crafted these and
other Singing Bowls.
memory lives on.
This all started centuries or even millennia ago, long before the
industrial age, when there was no entertainment industry, when
everything was 100% organic. This original heavy metal music was not
just background music at ancient temples, nor entertainment for
royalty; it appears that brain/mind entrainment into deeper states, and
dis-entrainment into the "state of no state" facilitated by the
complex, rich, textured harmonics and sub-harmonic beats was
intentional. It is quite likely that exploration of the resulting
states and non-states was a facet of the spiritual, for lack of better
words, training and education; that the sounds acted as guides or
stepping stones to making non-ordinary states become more ordinary, at
least to those who practiced. Our ears are not passive; they are active
participants in sound, interacting with the environment in a way which
leads to brain/mind entrainment with what we hear, whether it is
shamanic drums, singing bowls, the cacophony of city noise, or the
breath and heartbeat of someone close to us. And as we, through our
ancestors, have heard sounds of natural, acoustic instruments for
centuries or even millennia, there is something innately familiar, even
sacred, about the sound of these and other antique musical instruments.
Fast forwarding to a recent decade, this project started off with a
seemingly simple "what if" kind of question: "What would it be like to
record a matched set of antique singing bowls in high resolution?"
Through a set of serendipitous and synchronistic events, the answer
appeared from diverse locales and times as a set of pitch matched
antique metal singing bowls. Not western A440 tuned, but the ratios
between them are sonorous to western ears, in an older tuning known as
Solfeggio. Yes, Singing Bowls from different centuries matched each
other in pitch and ratios. Early on, playing live for a thanksgiving
day yoga class, the instructor, counting the Yogis and Yoginis noticed
there were 33 bodies there, and that there were 33 Singing Bowls. Also
happens to be the birth number of yours truly. That kind of
synchronicity is impossible to ignore, particularly for a reformed
Metal singing bowls are not easy to record well, they are considerably
quieter than contemporary crystal bowls, they resonate subtly in tandem
with each other, and there are nuances that are easily lost. The dirty
little secret is that most recording equipment is designed by left
brained caucasian males, and as such is designed for textbook ideals of
a timeless or static space; whereas life, and music, exist in context
within a dynamic, complex, chaotic universe. While specific details
about the recording equipment and techniques used in these recordings
will remain intentionally nebulous and vague, the fundamental principle
is systematically minimizing time smear in each component and
implementation in the gestalt of the recording chain. Once coherence
and texture are lost early in the recording chain, no amount of studio
trickery or artifice can recreate or reconstruct it. This may be a
cliche, however, "less is more" does apply here.
While both useful and fun in creating artificial spaces, multi track
recording techniques do not serve live acoustic instruments and spaces
as well. Even if we don't consciously recognize it, there is something
odd, as our ears cannot physically be in multiple places
simultaneously. We are hardwired for one pair of ears, and when
presented with artificial renditions, our brain/mind, our central
nervous system gets subtly confused or overwhelmed, being overly busy
processing rather than "just" being, as it processes the abstract
information being presented.
We are impressed when art expresses and communicates through a limited
medium. Much, maybe most music is about communicating a message of
sorts, usually emotional. These recordings do not directly do that, the
intention is holding the space to facilitate and enhance whatever is
present. What it is doing is providing a coherent, yet complex natural
“signal” for the ears/ brain/mind/heart/CNS to entrain to and “drop”
into a more relaxed, lower stress state of being, or being present
while being less "stated."
Breaking the rules, not just as a rebel without a cause, but by
starting out with the proverbial blank sheet; recordings commenced,
continuing the "what if" question. Many recordings sound like
recordings, not like live instruments in a space; many sound like
special effects in search of a plot, they lack a coherent vision; and
many seem like showpieces of the musician's ego. There are reasons why
the name of the human behind the scenes is not listed or pictured in
cover art, it is about the music and not the musician, and certainly
not about the musician’s ego. The suggestions of acquaintances who
heard the early recordings were along the lines of "…you should do
something with that." They were sure it was a live performance in the
next room, when it was in fact, a playback of the recording. There was
and is no compression, limiting, multi-mixing, gain riding, processing
for mastering, none of the usual. So, eschewing hype and marketing, it
was released on iTunes, Amazon, and Bandcamp as digital downloads;
later on CDBaby as a physical CD. The idea was that if it had value and
merit, it would find it's way. It did. Five (yes 5) years on Amazon New
Age top ten downloads, again, with no advertising, just word of mouth.
The next recording, Breathe, goes deeper, in a less is more mode. Have listen on the 33 Bowls main page and/or soundcloud.
So, here we are.
The remaining fundamental "what if" question is: How can we shift
ourselves, individually and collectively, from parasitic to synergistic
symbiosis with our host, Gaia?
Your communication is welcomed.
33 aka Hanson aka Hans aka 333 Owls