Vipassana as taught by The Mahasi Sayadaw of Burma

26 02 2017

Buddhism now

by Bhante Bodhidhamma

Observing the Breath at the Abdomen

Buddha Rupa Cambodia Photo: ©  Janet NovakWe observe the breath, or rather the sensations caused by breathing, in order to bring a moment-to-moment concentration. This calms the heart-mind because it is a neutral object. There are various places where people feel the sensations of breathing more acutely—at the nostrils or upper lip, at the rising and falling of the chest, and in the abdomen. All of these places are valid in terms of vipassana meditation. The Mahasi, however, favoured the abdomen as a place of observation.

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Jazz beats and sax

21 01 2017

lately, i have revisited the idea of working with backing tracks using computer. I find it is a quick way to lay down a few musical ideas.

generally, i am really not keen on using software instruments, and i really dislike spending time on the screen tweaking midi information. i much rather get my hands straight into matter and sculpt into the immediacy of sound. but still,  it is fun to improvise to some groove and it provides a change to abstraction. perhaps that’s what i do late at night when entertaining my neighbours with the horn is not an option.

using ableton live, it is easy to get a few simple ideas down and quickly move on to recording sax lines. and as it happens, i have a few project files waiting for some attention. some are just quick sketches, some tracks are more arranged. and just now, i have been wanting to put to good use the time i have spent working on new ideas with the saxophone.

 

i have been focusing on ways to develop musical narratives in improvisation. and i have been trying out various ways to find melodic or harmonic paths to navigate outside of established structures while maintaining a sense of evolving melody.

this work has come out of a desire to expand narratives in longer forms. i felt tied down by shorter cycles that keep resolving to the root, and wanted to open up the possibilities of extended melodic development such as found in classical music. however, i did not want to fall into completely random root movements. i guest i wanted a method that would be suited to support free flowing improvised narratives without being tied to a structural approach or to the predictability of a specific, limited linguistic approach. (i really do not take on the idea of limiting musical expression to the form of a language and follow on this metaphor to expression in terms of a personal vocabulary, and the implied pitfalls of predictability. ok, let’s not get too political or philosophical here.)

so to sum up my idea in a few (but rather big) words… i felt i needed to free myself from limiting structures and find an open method for the free flow development of narrative in improvisation. so i had to look outside of cyclical forms that imply repeated return to a root and this sense of continually converging back to a fixed point.

for this, i started working with musical ‘sounds’ that dissociated ‘root’ with ‘tonal centre’. this is a very interesting and important distinction, and looking into Steve Coleman’s idea of negative chords helped a lot. and then, it was just a question of finding ways to detach from the informed habit of sequencing the tonal centre in predictable ways. the only way was to follow the logic of narrative development and of course not falling into the pull of following protocol. a very good bass player once said to me the very simple rule that applies to all music, ‘harmony always follows melody’. it had to be this way, and not the opposite.

so in the development of melodic narrative, i removed the anchor, this force of attraction found in tonal centers, and instead looked for ways to follow the logic intrinsic to improvised narratives, so that the melody would keep unfolding without being tethered. i had to rethink how i looked at musical forms (and even how one looks at form… is emptiness, emptiness is form… remember?).

so i started developing modalities (rather than scales), harmonic shapes (rather than chords) and considering axis (rather than tonal centre) and therefore orbits, pathways, nodal points between orbits. we’re not lost in space here, this is not music of the spheres, nor a nihilist chromatic hell, however, i had to detach from traditional approach to tonality and think in terms of interval relationships – in order to be able to move freely between paths, while retaining a narrative logic, that is without sounding completely aleatory, chromatic or just random.

of course, it takes a long time to assimilate all this method in my playing, to be able to improvise with it, particularly as i do not have a mathematical nor analytical approach when playing. free flow is essential to creativity i believe, and one way to detach from predictable structures is to ‘walk away from the expectations of the world’, as is expressed in another article you can find in this blog.

this approach also has taken a long time to develop, and i found that some aspects of it started to show in the solo work i have been documenting as ‘sounding out‘.

 

more recently, i have taken this to the studio, and we are now back to where this article started.

so here are a few pieces that i have recorded using sets of chords and beats, which of course are all arranged in advance using live, and then improvised saxophone lines over the top.

some of these were recorded a while ago and explore simple ideas and remain very melodic.

 

 

 

and i do like messing with beats and groove, even improvising bass lines on the keyboard of my laptop (yes, right…)

 

 

 

other tracks were developed differently; for example, the following piece actually started with a saxophone improvisation, to which i later added keys and bass, allowing me to leave much space, and follow the feel of the narrative improvisation.

 

 

 

and more recently still, the saxophone is now exploring new structures over simple tonal background. i quite like the wobbly feel of that nasty reaktor synth – this is a nice change to the traditional keys set up i have been using. this is not modal music, and perhaps more open ended, as it is closer to the drone on indian raga.

 

 

 

and coming back to the more traditional quartet sound, which a live group could be playing, with drums, bass and keys, but this time using harmonic shapes more suited for the structural abstraction of saxophone improvisation… an extract from a longer piece, this track is more of a demo in a single modality, with the multiplicity of harmonic options implied:

 

 

 

to finish with, a couple more pieces hot from the press…

 


 

 

as usual, i hope you enjoy listening to this work, and would love to hear your thoughts and reactions…

 

peace,

xrv

 





The Five Buddha Families, by Francesca Fremantle

13 12 2016

“all of our negative emotions can be transmuted into wisdom.”

Buddhism now

The_Dhyani_Buddha_Akshobhya',_Tibetan_thangka,_late_13th_century,_Honolulu_Academy_of_Arts wikipedia.orgIt is possible to look at our whole life—our experience and our mind—as a mandala. The mandala is a ground of possible transformation, and the mandala of samsara—the confused, chaotic, basic ground—is also the mandala of nirvana. Tantra says that samsara and nirvana are one, that there is no difference—the very same energy which is distorted, confused and cloudy, and which generates the samsaric world, can be the pure, vibrant colours of the enlightened Buddha wisdom.

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You Are Not A Permanent Person, by Ajahn Sumedho

12 12 2016

timeless teachings, so relevant today…

Buddhism now

Sheep on roadside Dartmoor, DevonThe Five Aggregates

One way of dividing up the conditioned realm is into five aggregates (khandhas)—

  1. body (rupa),
  2. feeling (vedana),
  3. perception (sanna),
  4. mental formations (sankhara) and
  5. consciousness (vinnana).

When I first started meditating many years ago, I could understand the definitions of the five aggregates, but I did not know their reality; I had never really contemplated these things in an intuitive way through observing my own body, feelings, perceptions, mental formations, or consciousness. Initially, I really only contemplated the physical body, the four elements (earth, fire water and air), the parts of the body (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, etc) and the body itself. I contemplated material things, anything formed.

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Ecart de Sons EPK

29 08 2016

banner

 

 

contact:

henry – hherteman@wanadoo.fr

hervé – sndsukinspook@live.com

 

web

soundcloud.com/henry-herteman

soundcloud.com/herveperez

 

 

 

Dialogique intuitive d’un duo d’improvisateurs.

Multi-instrumentistes, ils sculptent des idiomes imaginaires de forme acoustique et électronique, à la croisée du jazz et de l’expérimental.

 

 

Ecart de Sons

documents audio:

01 [Ecole de Danse, Cazères]

02 [Club 52, Prat Bonrepeau]

03 [A.I.R., Sarrant]

04 [le caméléon, Toulouse]

 

 

 

Le duo Ecart de Sons offre un dialogue d’affinités musicales et poétiques de deux personnalités expérimentées dont la vocation est l’expressivité concertée.

 

Le parcours individuel de chaque musicien, riche de collaborations diverses est ponctué de nombreux concerts, d’enregistrements et compositions.

 

Le désir de parfaire ce duo prend corps au cours des années, et évolue selon la recherche de chaque musicien. Cette rencontre s’illustre dans la pratique de l’improvisation libre et des musiques intuitives et nouvelles, dont les bases convoquent: des développement jazz ou free, des idiomes imaginaires, des échos de la musique contemporaine et de l’electro-acoustique.

 

 

 

Documents video du duo en concert : vimeo.com/channels/ecartdesons

 

 

biographies:

 

Henry Herteman

clavier – trombone – mélodica – sax électronique

 

Musicien autodidacte, auteur de texte, il est attiré par la maîtrise du langage de divers instruments: piano, clavier, trombone, mélodica, percussion, Valiha Malgache.

Une orientation marquée par les rencontres d’improvisation avec lecteurs, poètes, musiciens, danseurs, peintres, performeurs. Engagé dans les courants d’échanges spontanés, de rencontres croisées. Il revendique le concept d’improvisation libre ou compovisée et musique intuitive avec des incursions dans les climats du jazz, du rock progressif, de la musique ethnique voire contemporaine. Ne rien s’interdire est son fil conducteur.

Il participe et organise de nombreux événements sur les scènes régionales de la musique improvisée. Participe aux ateliers de l’IREA, aux Sonofages, intervient aux «Nuits de Lauzerte» dans une performance «Passages croisés». Concepteur des journées de musique intuitives, des concerts rue des fleurs.

Il sort en mai 2015 un CD solo, Roule ta Salive chez Improvising Beings. Un travail qu’il présente au théâtre du pavé.

 

Sur son trajet, il croise nombreux musiciens:

Didier Laserre , Nuch Werchowska, Le Fil, Grand Piac, Zoubooo, Synapsis, Gilles Dalbis, Naoto Yamagishi, Laurent Rodriguez, Heddy Boubaker

 

soundcloud.com/henry-herteman

henrynow.simplesite.com

 

 

 

hervé perez

saxophones – shakuhachi – laptop

 

artiste, compositeur, improvisateur.

Participant actif sur la scène Européenne depuis 2000, en collaboration avec d’autres formes artistiques tel la danse, l’art visuel et l’écriture, il s’intéresse principalement aux modalités d’improvisation et aux relations entre musiciens, audience et environnement.

Travaille dans différentes formations de free jazz et d’improvisation libre, électroacoustique et musique contemporaine, ainsi qu’en performances solo. Il présente aussi son travail audio-visuel en installations in situ.

Il poursuis une recherche du son et sciences vibratoires d’une part, et aussi développe une approche très contemporaine de l’harmonie et de la mélodie. Inspiré de techniques anciennes de guérison et par la pratique de la méditation, il intègre science et spiritualité au sein de modalités de performance de la composition spontanée.

Le travail sur la résonance, la relation des formes vibratoires à l’architecture et au corps, la pratique du deep listening font alors partie intégrante du processus créatif qu’il chemine hors des enceintes stylistiques.

 

sndsukinspook.wordpress.com

spacers.lowtech.org/herve

soundcloud.com/herveperez

.

 

https://vimeo.com/channels/ecartdesons

 

 





quote for the day: interconnectedness

25 06 2016

in the face of a melt-down and resulting reactions from the web, i found a post so relevant and actual that i’d like to share the following quote:

 

The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater our own sense of well-being becomes. Cultivating a close, warm-hearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. This helps remove whatever fears or insecurities we may have and gives us the strength to cope with any obstacles we encounter. It is the ultimate source of success in life.

If we remember that it is not just ourselves but every one who has to undergo suffering, this more realistic perspective will increase our determination and capacity to overcome troubles. Indeed, with this attitude, each new obstacle can be seen as yet another valuable opportunity to improve our mind!

Inter-dependence, of course, is a fundamental law of nature. Not only higher forms of life but also many of the smallest insects are social beings who, without any religion, law or education, survive by mutual cooperation based on an innate recognition of their interconnectedness. The most subtle level of material phenomena is also governed by interdependence. All phenomena from the planet we inhabit to the oceans, clouds, forests and flowers that surround us, arise in dependence upon subtle patterns of energy. Without their proper interaction, they dissolve and decay.

It is because our own human existence is so dependent on the help of others that our need for love lies at the very foundation of our existence. Therefore we need a genuine sense of responsibility and a sincere concern for the welfare of others.

HHDL

from:
https://kalachakrablog.wordpress.com/2016/06/22/compassion-and-the-individual/





sounding out in the south of france 2016 ctd

18 06 2016

Auvillar1bAuvillar2bCieutat1bCieutat2bGedresbLuz1bLuz2bStMartory1bStMartory2b

 

During the second half of my stay in France, visits to locations were a little more leisurely and i took the opportunity to revisit other know locations.

The town of Auvillar towers over the Garonne river, located on the travel route to Compostelle, it features an old covered market square built with measures for grain and cereals – some of which are now rare.
It is a busy place with tourism and local trade, and similarly, the church is buzzing with bursts of activity. In between visitors and prayers, i managed to squeeze a little empty space with melodic overtones…

While travelling across the pyrenees, a few places punctuated the journey. in Barèges, spa town situated high up in the mountains, a powerful torrent crosses the town. After an energising meditation by the water, i stopped in the small local chapel to keep my practice fingers running along. And of course, inspired by the gentle yet powerful vibe, i recorded a couple of pieces.

In luz, it was a pleasure to revisit the 12th century building of the fortified Templar church. The solid outside wall are drenched in sun and exposed to wild elements while the inside, in contrast, is dark and completely still. This displacement mirrored a space i could feel between the force and gentleness of the natural elements, so present and powerful in the area.

My head still in the rushing waters of torrents and high mountain glaciers after a day walk. i stopped for meditation in a small town, on the road returning from gavarnie. for once, i did not have my saxophone with me and decided to put to use a brand new shakuhachi i had just finished making. Its frail and gentle sound filled the grand space of the church and suddenly echoed the force i’d felt while watching the creation of a new waterfall from snow melting.

The last day in the mountain area, i had to make a couple of stops, just to review an amazing church i remembered from my previous trip. In the small passage town of Cieutat, the church was still just as overwhelming, but the more active feel of that particular morning removed some of the mystical quality. These last two visits were punctuated with flower duty, water changes and general church bustle. As i settled into the feel of the place, i caught myself playing similar chord structures and colours to what i had played during my last visit there. Was this harmonic movement really in the stone? Part of this place… For a second, i had a weird flashback, and yet made no effort to repeat the material from memory. And of course the improvisation took me somewhere else, but i could sense that that same colour / feel / tone was in the music, only slightly different – like a person you know well and meet again further down the line of their personal history.

Rushing down the mountains and on the road back to civilisation, on the way to my next gig, another quick stop took me to St Martory church… The flower duty and water changing provided background and clear marks where the atmosphere was saturated with the underlying sound of the nearby river. At first, the drone of passing water merged with traffic entrained me to play long overtones and focus on the interplay between harmonics contained within the breath sound. Soon, a pulse developed, water rippled, melody splashed. gesture. movement and form.

 

 

 

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le repos des plaines
alto saxophone, 02 june 2016
église de st sardos

 

 

 

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jours de lente
alto saxophone, 02 june 2016
église de st sardos

 

 

 

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roads and waterways
alto saxophone, 27 may 2016
église de st martory

 

 

 

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new flowers
alto saxophone, 27 may 2016
église de st martory

 

 

 

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the journey of water
alto saxophone, 27 may 2016
église de cieutat

 

 

 

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crest lines
alto saxophone, 27 may 2016
église de cieutat

 

 

 

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ripples from falling pebbles
2.1 shakuhachi, 26 may 2016
église de gèdres

 

 

 

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contrepoint de rivière et vent
alto saxophone, 25 may 2016
église de luz

 

 

 

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courte descente libre
alto saxophone, 25 may 2016
église de luz

 

 

 

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road squiggles
alto saxophone, 24 may 2016
église de barèges

 

 

 

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torrent under a low sky
alto saxophone, 24 may 2016
église de barèges

 

 

 

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sarrasin champart
alto saxophone, 17 may 2016
église de auvillar

 

 

 

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millet avoine
alto saxophone, 17 may 2016
église de auvillar

 

 

 

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