Frank Perry - Tibetan Singing Bowls - Himalayan Studies 5

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This is the fifth in a Series of 5 CDs entitled HIMALAYAN STUDIES.


They were 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. I had just over enough for 4 CDs - which nicely celebrated my 4 decades of music-making - so I turned my attention to the possibility of a fifth CD.


The idea then occurred to myself that I could include some early pieces that were unavailable and then the thought further developed into including pieces from each decade.

#1    Light Rays Breaking through Clouds.   (25-6-2004) #   (3:23)
A short piece for Tibetan Singing bowls exploring their long sustain and certain subtle acoustical properties. This is a more recent work and begins this retrospective of just over three decades of professional solo recordings.

 #2    Milarepa’s Rainbow of Sound.   (May 1999)   (3:15)
Large rolling, struck, and stroked PAISTE Symphonic Gongs and Rain Gongs (an original adaptation invented by myself) are the sole source for the sounds on this piece. This piece features multi-tracking. I had been working for some years with a small group of musicians and composers exploring overtone singing and we made a recording and I subsequently released it on a CD entitled RAINBOW HEALING PEACE. There was some space left over from the overtone improvisations and so I added some solo pieces featuring instruments also rich in harmonic overtones. This track and the next two tracks are musical interludes from that CD.

 #3    Rainbow Light Bells.   (May 1999)   (7:02)
This piece is for Tibetan hand bells (Drilbu). It was a total improvisation performed alongside three members of my family (Christine, Rose, & Gabriel). Multi-tracked over and above this I play the Planicervs (a set of 7 adapted Tuned PAISTE Sound Discs and a set of 5 Un-tuned PAISTE Sound Discs) and Nectarine (very small Tibetan bells - again adapted for the purpose of bowing). Beneath these sounds are a couple of Air spirit Singing bowls and two Spirit Bhutanese Singing bowls.

#4    Tongues of Fiery Light.   (May 1999)   (2:35)
This short piece exploits the wonderful and magical world of Water spirit Singing Bowls of both Tibetan & Himalayan origins. It takes one pair of hands to produce one sound so this piece is over-dubbed (multi-tracked). I

 #5    Temple of the Ancient Magical Presence.   (6-1-1998)   (12:47)
A beautiful old antique Conch Shell trumpet from India opens this piece (featuring circular breathing) with stroked Gongs added and then leading to a crescendo upon a Symphonic Gong accompanied by the Drilbu (Tibetan Buddhist hand bells played by my wife Christine, daughter Rose, and son Gabriel alongside myself) ringing together. This sequence stops abruptly and then turns to a sector featuring two deep Tibetan Singing Bowls with Water spirit bowls alongside some other struck Tibetan Singing bowls subsequently leading to a segment for Petalumines (for more on my invented hand-made instruments click HERE) and Sun Ray (three Rectangular Bell plates commissioned by myself and made from the same PAISTE material as the Petalumines) which is then followed by a choir of Water spirit Tibetan Singing bowls with a very high-pitched Tibetan Singing bowl making its entrance about midway through this section of the piece. This end section is also multi-tracked. In a sense this piece was commissioned by fellow percussionist Trevor Taylor as a kind of update on what I had been doing in the 25 years since he last commissioned a solo piece (which you can hear on Track #10 of this CD). Subsequently Trevor released that earlier album of solos (THE IMPROVISING PERCUSSIONIST) and a solo album by myself featuring my work in duos and trios and solo on a CD titled TEMPLE OF THE ANCIENT MAGICAL PRESENCE.

#6    Treasure of the Mountain.  (NKR)   (15-12-1995) *    (7:43)
A piece opening and closing upon large PAISTE Gongs (both struck and stroked) but essentially exploring Tibetan Singing bowls - at the centre is a moment of stillness and silence. The piece closes with a single stroke on the beautiful PAISTE Sun Gong underpinning an aleatoric section upon Water spirit Bowls and the Maitreya Heart chakra bowl - this closing section alone being multi-tracked. This was commissioned by Solar and differs slightly from the later version released on THE HEALING BOWLS OF TIBET.

#7    The Breath Within the Breath.   (25-2-1990)   (12:06)
A spontaneous improvisation beginning with Petalumines followed by the beautiful mystical-sounding Noah Bells (from India) entering above the slowly decaying Petalumines and punctuated by Chinese Buddha Bells (Qing) and chords on Petalumines. Then we have a section played upon a selection of Tibetan Singing bowls being an admixture of small Yin and small Yang bowls at times interjected by Petalumines and closing with an aleatoric passage for Air spirit Tibetan Singing bowls. This closing aleatoric section alone is multi-tracked. This took place during a recording session with the poet Owen Davis (with fellow musicians Pool of Sound - featuring Chas Dickie on Cello & Keyboards and Cathy Stevens on Viola & Violin) where Owen asked me to do a solo for the projected CD.

#8    Whispers of Eternity.   (13-1-1986) #   (4:27)
A short improvisation upon a small selection of my Petalumines - invented and hand-made by myself. These are very rich in harmonics and ring on for a very long time. They sound especially wonderful within the spiritual ambience and acoustics of the White Temple. I had time after recording the several albums the session at the White Temple was primarily intended for and so I devoted some of the extra time to a series of shorter pieces designed especially for meditation.

#9    Stillness of Peace Profound.   (13-1-1986) #   (3:12)
This was another very short improvisation recorded in the White Temple of The White Eagle Lodge (as above) and explores the beautiful Kyezees (Burmese meditation Gongs) that ring on for so long and have such a strong meditative energy whilst also being very still and centering.

#10    Mountain Angel from Venus.   (13-9-1974)   (13:35)
The instruments at this time were based around a drum kit. Nonetheless, no drums are played, whilst the improvisation centres upon my collection of Bells and Gongs as at that time. The piece begins by exploiting the uniquely meditative property of a beautiful Kyezee followed by numerous Chinese Bell Trees, Japanese (Keisu, Kin, Uchinarishi), and Indian bells and Chinese Wind Gong and the antique Chinese Horizontal Gong and other Chinese Gongs plus the set of three 400-year-old Japanese Zen Buddhist Densho bells, antique Chinese Resting bells, Chinese Bells, authentic large and small Chinese Cymbals, a set of 3 Burmese Chime Bowls, Tibetan Ting-shag, Tibetan Drilbu, Glass Bells (invented by myself - adapted from the various sizes of CONA coffee percolator funnels), with numerous strings of bells and home-made windchimes. The session was arranged by fellow improvising percussionist Trevor Taylor who interviewed the participants at the time. This was followed up with another interview and a new piece titled TEMPLE OF THE ANCIENT MAGICAL PRESENCE (featured on Track #5 earlier in this disc).

#11    Amethyst, Gold and Royal Blue, my way of saying Thank You.   (?-?-1972) *   (8:28) 
My first-ever professionally recorded solo. This was played upon my regular set-up for improvising (in this instance with a group co-founded by Keith Tippett and myself named Ovary Lodge [for more on that group click HERE]). This featured many of my current instrumentarium - the various types of bells, gongs, cymbals, strings of bells, etc, plus drums and woodblocks, voice, etc. An antique Chinese Horizontal Gong features prominently in this music - recorded exceptionally well by Robert Fripp (founder and lead guitarist of King Crimson - Producer of the LP [OVARY LODGE RCA/Victor] from which this track is taken) choosing to use several microphones in order to capture the entire spectrum of sound unique to this rare instrument. Drums do feature a little in this piece - especially the bass drum. It was my experience that the Master Jesus drew close to me around the time during the cymbal crescendo. It was recorded unbeknown to myself and that is probably how it should have been as during this period of my playing I was more interested in group playing than in solo and I may even have been tempted to become self-conscious if it had been planned to happen.


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