Russias Phurpa have been around a couple of times in these pages with their shamanistic music and on Ritual Of Bön they explore the magical practices of ancient Tibet, Iran and even Egypt and Bön is a “Tibetan religion, which self-identifies as being distinct from Tibetan Buddhism, although it shares the same overall teachings and terminology. It arose in the eleventh century and established its scriptures mainly from termas and visions by tertöns such as Loden Nyingpo.
Though Bon terma contain myths of Bon existing before the introduction of Buddhism in Tibet,”in truth the old religion was a new religion”, as Wikipedia always comes in very handy. There is nothing in there about the music of Bön, and to the untrained ear that I have for this kind of thing it sounds like something that Phurpa does; lots of overtone chanting here, and very minimal in terms of percussion and or flutes. Thats not to say they are not there, but I think its pushedaway a bit; on the second side, Long life it seems to be more present. It is not the kind of music that I play a lot, but when I do I always quite enjoy it; even if I may have very little affinity with the
underlying roots of the music. Enjoyed purely for what it is, I must say I had a great time. (FdW)
After their remarkable “Chöd” reviewed a couple of months ago, this russian project returns with the first part of their exploration of the rituals of Bön (a pre-buddhist tradition of the far east) continuing their rescue of a spiritual sense of music. For this means, they use traditional instruments and a music form unbased on the western concept of development and writings. This is music organized in prevalently static moments where timbre is moving instead of pitch.
When the traditional chant, which opens “Yan-Drub”, begins theres a sense of spiritual rest, as it sounds as a continuation of the musical path of the previous releases. The quiet percussions in the background act as an introduction of the second part of the track based on aerophones with a lower volume so they barely embrace silence instead of the listener, as the first part did with the remarkable volume of the voice which returns in the final part of the track. “Long Life” starts in the same manner of the first side but the second part is based on chordophones, or so they sound, and percussion so they create an evocative sense of spiritual movement. An extremely silent part based on aerophones and small metallic resonances of the percussions has a sense of focus that is broken by the entrance of the didgeridoo accompanying the listener towards the end of the track asking a full concentration to appreciate the small movements of his sound.
This is music so “pure” at a linguistic level that requires complete cohesion with his listeners and could be inaccessible to people with listening habits rooted in the western concept of “expectation” as Phutpa requires “contemplation”. So this release is unrated, as its too extreme for the typical listener, but all fans of minimal music, with a proper attitude, will play this music until the vinyl is consumed.