Ripples of acoustic piano. Their resonance giving rise to synthesized drone. A slow, serene morning music emerging from the reverb and echo. A sacred mediation. A soundtrack to wake, stretch, yawn, and greet the dawn. Clearing the head of thought, in preparation for a new day. A stillness. A holy, healing moment. A time out. Keys cascading, raining in hammered dulcimer-like patterns. Low frequency oscillations washing in waves, a gentle tide below. Within the raga, those ripples become whirlpools. Eddys and currents, rushes, that ebb and flow. Submerged in the sound, it feels like an awakening. A gathering of the senses. The cosmos calling.
This suite of improvised pieces is rooted in North Indian classical music, and draws on the experience, and daily practices, of composer and pianist, Michael Harrison – who studied with Pandit Pran Nath and La Monte Young. John Also Bennett’s modular synthesizer taking the place traditionally occupied by a tanpura, while Christina Vantzou acts as the “conductor” the conduit through which the patient, poised playing pours through, its energy directed, shaped.
Skimming the surface the results might seem like a series of piano duets, Michael and John both tinkling the ivories. The flurries of notes have the feel of tiny streams. A busy race though tight tributaries in search of the sea, and collective calm. While listening you can’t help but make analogies to water, when trying to describe the spontaneous nature of the session`s organic forward motion.
The electronics are subtle, understated, and never take centre stage. Instead providing a bucolic buzz, the reassuring hum of insects in high summer, in the spaces in between the small spirals of nimbly nuanced notes, which gradually gracefully unfurl, to reveal their stately but still dancing melodies. In places these patches are a shimmer, brief breezes of shaken seashell-like percussion. On Sirens they`re a sucking vacuum, the song of Tangerine Dream`s Zeit, The Void. Driving a deep dive into the unconscious, the Id, the unknown, inner space. Travelling toward a meeting, a merging, with a universal vibration. Ad astra. The eternal Om.
Christina Vantzou, Michael Harrison, and John Also Bennett’s Berlin sessions will be released by Seance Centre on September 2nd.