Dorje Ling is on these releases:
|In Retrospect: 1980-2003|
2004 Celestial Harmonies 14204 (CD) – 2-CD
"What a long strange trip it's been." It was the Grateful Dead who sang that line, but it's David Parsons who has actually lived it. In Retrospect: 1980-2003 is a double CD retrospective of David Parsons' recording career, one heavily influenced by other cultures and extensive travel.
In 1965, before the Beatles/sitar explosion, Parsons was at a barely attended concert by legendary Indian sitarist Ravi Shankar. "It was," he says, "love at first sight." He bought himself a sitar and began to teach himself.
It was in India in 1975, while studying proper sitar technique with Krishna Chakravarty, that Parsons heard the other sound that would change his life -- the synthesizer. He mixed electronic and natural sounds together with those of his sitar and in 1980 put some of these homemade tape pieces on a cassette called Sounds of the Mothership. It was heard by Ethan Edgecombe of the fledgling New Age music label Fortuna Records. Now on an American label, Parsons moved up to the next generation of synthesizers. Inspired by this new technology, Parsons created Tibetan Plateau. "I still couldn't believe people wanted this," he says -- but in fact they did want it.
Even during the rise of New Age music in the 1980s, David Parsons stood apart. There was he acknowledges a darker side to his music, a suggestion of hidden depths that echoed the sounds of the deep night ragas of india, that can be heard on Yatra, Himalaya and Dorje Ling.
In 1989, while visiting exiled Tibetan monks at the Dip Tse Chok Ling Monastery in northern India, Parsons recorded some complete ceremonies. Fortuna Records distribution was now performed by Celestial Harmonies, whose owner, Eckart Rahn, had already shown an interest in traditional Asian music. Music from Sacred Ceremonies - Ritual Music of Tibetan Buddhism was used by directors Oliver Stone in his film Heaven & Earth and Bernardo Bertolucci in Little Buddha. It was an auspicious beginning for what would become a second career for David Parsons. Over the next few years Parsons traveled the world for Celestial Harmonies, producing The Music of Cambodia, The Music of Vietnam, The Music of Islam and The Music of Armenia.
Parsons finally returned to his own music in 1997. Drawing on the melodies and instruments he had recorded around the Eastern Hemisphere, he set to work on a project that would bring the amazing experience of the world's ancient acoustic tradition into an electric setting. It became Ngaio Gamelan.
His next two albums brought him full circle. Shaman was an electronic imaging of a gathering of mystics, done at a time when Parsons was again looking for a change in his music. On the double album Parikrama, he returned, musically at least, to the Himalayas, mixing his sitar and sampled Buddhist chant with some of the deepest, darkest music yet.
The music on In Retrospect: 1980-2003 has been selected and sequenced by Parsons. It also features previously unissued material. We are pleased to offer a recording by one who has made such an immense contribution to the genre, both as a recording artist and as a producer.
1.1, 1.4 previously unreleased
2002 Celestial Harmonies 17076 (CD)
Since 1975, David Parsons has made numerous trips to India to absorb the culture, study the music, and record performances by indigenous artists. In addition to producing two albums of Tibetan ritual music, in the Sacred Ceremonies series, the composer and synthesist has translated the essence of his journeys into the lush, yet, profound soundscapes of Himalaya and Yatra, two critically acclaimed albums of original music.
Dorje Ling was inspired by his subsequent return to Dharamsala, India, home of Tibetan Buddhism in exile. For several months, Parsons lived at the Dip Tse Chok Ling Monastery and immersed himself in the ancient art of Tibetan ritual music. "During our stay, my wife, Kay, and I would sit in the monastery for eight hours at a time through whole ceremonies," Parsons recalls. "Although I'm not a Buddhist, and I don't speak Tibetan, I found myself compelled to sit there for days on end just trying to absorb the nuances of it. In this way, the music got into my subconscious, and the album is a result of that."
On Dorje Ling, Parsons mixes samples of traditional Tibetan music into his gently evolving electronic compositions. Many of these recordings were taken from material released on Sacred Cermonies 2, yet the resulting fusion of ancient and modern sensibilities is not meant to be a representation of Tibetan Buddhist practices. Rather, Dorje Ling is a poetic exploration of the visions this rich culture has inspired in Parsons, culminating in a sonic pilgrimage through the treacherous splendor of the surrounding Himalayas.