Christian Meaas Svendsen – New Rituals
Christian Meaas Svendsen – New Rituals
CATALOGUE NR: NKM016
RELEASE DATE: 24th May 2019
FORMAT: CD, LP, digital download, streaming
RECORDED: Rainbow Studio, three sessions during 2017 and 2018
MIXED/MASTERED: Peer Espen Ursfjord
PRODUCED: Christian Meaas Svendsen
New Rituals is exploring the relation between form and freedom, between modern Western culture and traditional Eastern culture, and between written and open musical material. The piece is written in three parts for (1) ensemble and a chant-choir, (2) ensemble, and (3) solo bass.
The three parts are all rooted in and based on the same source material: 10 ancient Zen Buddhist sutras, or chants. The music is presenting Buddhist philosophy in a nutshell: What we experience as an independent self is in reality inseparable from everything else and is always changing. Furthermore the music is questioning the necessity of form as a means to experience freedom. This might hold true for music as well as other aspects of our lives.
1. Lotus Sutra
2. Heart Sutra
3. Dharani for Preventing Disasters
4. Shakyamuni Eko
5. Dharani for the Great Compassionate One
6. Patriarch Eko
7. Dharani for the Hungry Ghosts
8. Hungry Ghost Eko
9. The Final Instructions of Master Kōzen Daitō
10. The Four Great Vows
(The track titles are the same for each of the three parts)
Agnes Hvizdalek - voice
Adrian Løseth Waade - violin
Ayumi Tanaka - piano
Andreas Wildhagen - drums
Christian Meaas Svendsen - bass and compositions
Rinzai zen-senter Oslo - chanting
Download from Subradrar
Can this even be called music?
New Rituals is a huge offering. First, it’s a triple-disc album clocking in at almost two hours long. Deuzio, it reiterates the same compositions on the three discs, but the first one is for ensemble and choir, the second one for ensemble alone, and the third one for solo bass. Tertio, its source material is ten ancient Zen Buddhist sutra chants. The aforementioned ensemble is made of two violins, piano, drum, and bass, which lends a peculiar sound halfway between contemporary classical and traditional chant-music. Moreover, the three discs are not simply the same recordings with some layers removed, but entirely new interpretations of the same source material. This is a daunting album, if only by its length, but its spiritual nature and creative performances make it more than worth it.
Put on the circuit via Norway's Nakama Records on May 24th, 2k19 as a 3xCD set plus additional booklet folder with extended liner notes is "New Rituals", the new extended album piece created by Christian Meeas Svendsen in collaboration with his band Nakama and a zen buddhist choir based in the Rinzai Zen Center Oslo. With all three parts being based on the same source material and a highly conceptual compositional approach we see the ten zen buddhist sutras performed by Nakama and the buddhist choir on the first CD1, creating hypnotic hypertension from the very first notes of the opener "Lotus Sutra" onwards, a piece in which intense chants and a crescendo of FreeJazz-resembling conceptual compositions fall together without allowing the listener one second to breathe - let alone over the course of the whole first CD's total runtime of 37 minutes. Part two sees Nakama performing the specific patterns assigned to each part of the chants solely instrumental and without vocal company which clarifies the compositional approach by far and, even though no specific time signature is assigned to the groups performance, allows for a certain rhythmic structure to come through in this slightly reduced and more restrained take on the subject which surely will be appreciated by both followers of Jazz (Noir) and Contemporaty Classical as well before Christian Meaas Svendsen's interpretation of the topic fully focuses on a (Neo)Classical vision, mainly on minimal bass playing providing enough room for silence and contemplation within the given parameters of his predetermined compositional interpretations of the buddhist sutras. A well demanding album for followers of highly conceptual music, this.