Bodhisattva Recording Project
Part of Bodhisattva’s mission is to archive the sound files of the thousands of antique singing bowls that have passed through our business in the past 16 years.
One of the ways we seek to preserve this legacy is to develop and maintain strict standards on the quality of the recordings we produce, recording both the struck and rim tones of each singing bowl and Master Healing Set that we sell on our site. In our Large Singing Bowl Galleries, we also record the fundamental (deeper) tones as well. These recordings have improved as technology and bandwidth have evolved, but improvement is a never ending quest. We try to give our customers the most faithful experience of the bowls possible. Our recording artist Son Vo (pictured left) has a wonderful hand on the bowls and scrubs the recordings clean of rim noise, sirens, aircraft, traffic, dogs, crows, and other sounds of West Los Angeles daily life.
But the real impetus for this project is more personal – a desire for the bowls to be heard as broadly as possible, and for their sound to endure beyond their lifetimes. So we’re creating an archive of this treasure trove of sound files, which will require a great deal of time to organize (we’re always looking for intern help with this project!). I’m driven by the awareness of how relatively rare it is that this cross current of antique singing bowls should all flow through this time and place; and a sense of responsibility to document them all. Especially the sets, as to our knowledge, there have never been recordings of singing bowl sets before. And as we craft these handmade, very individual pieces together to form intervals and scales, I’m struck with the reality that these sets will not stay together forever. So we seek to preserve the relationships of these bowls. And the basic fabric of our recording will be woven with these sounds.
The Bodhisattva recording will also feature live sessions as well. For the past two years, Son and I have been recording sessions with the bowls in the studios of Lotus Post, in Santa Monica, California. We did our first session with the inspiration to interweave one of our best diatonic sets together with one of our best pentatonic sets, utilizing not just striking tones, but all of the fundamental and rim tones as well. Lotus Post’s founder, Michael Perricone, a bowl master himself, has been a driving force in helping us with the project as producer, engineer and at the onset of the project, a co-musician as well.
In our last antique collection, we received a flurry of concert-pitch Highwalls, four tuned to concert pitch on the fundamentals (C, A & two matching Fs) and two tuned concert pitch on the rims (E & G). It was an anomaly that so many Highwalls tuned to whole tones should all come together in the same collection. I have only completed one antique Highwall set and it took about four or five years to complete. That set was matched on the rims, from a fifth octave C to a B (featured in our Crown Chakra Meditation video). However, we had no recording of anything with whole tones mixed between the rims and fundamentals. So, on a beautiful, late summer evening, we took the bowls to Lotus Post to capture their resonance together, before they parted ways forever.
What I loved about this collection is that they all had something to say to each other, and I felt as though I was sitting in on a conversation conducted in a universal tongue. Despite their varying densities, their timbres were well matched and I loved the interplay of the whole tones referencing each other across the octaves, with their flatted fifth harmonies dancing in between. I felt so blessed to have been in the room when they all came together.
Son and I have a rough layout of the sequencing, but our “day jobs” come first! So the project is slowly getting done as soon as the flow of work allows. Please stay tuned!