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ZOHAR 127-2

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Tibetan “chöd” roughly means “being cut off”. That is also the title of the new piece of work of shamans from Moscow. Phurpa returns with a completely new material, without doubt, the best in their discography. It perfectly shows the strength of their music based on the “rgyud-skad” singing, meditation and the use of traditional instruments, often made of human bones.

Chöd is the practice of sacrificing the body. To actively participate in meditation we invite not only enlightened beings, but also the residents of the six realms of existence, including the essence of hell and all the spiritual “filth” there is, all possible demons. They just have to be the main beneficiaries of the sacrifice made, and the body of the meditator becomes their food. Traditionally, this practice was carried out in desolate and lonely places, and often even frightening – in the fields of cremation and burial grounds near the dismembered corpses and wild animals preying on them. The practitioners of chöd were called crazy yogis.

Over a 90-minute monolith in two scenes. The musical trans introducing listeners into the state of meditation.

“Chöd” is released as a double album in 3-panel ecopak, in a strictly limited edition of 400 copies.

phurpa_chod_1net phurpa_chod_2net


At high volume this album is an immersive experience, throat-sung waves of wordless drone washing over you. A raspy, sinking sand that has a succulent SunnO))) depth to it. Full of rhythmic intones and surfacing undercurrents, half-formed vowels floundering in the slow friction, a slight bounce of drum skin barely detectable, a few padded percussives creeping its corners.
Then trumpets herald and some nice reedy insanity ensues, like flies banqueting on a corpse, a light chant mid-lining the flow. Harmonised fruit before you, starring back into those abyss-like tectonics. Turn the lights off and increase the volume — it’s a cosy complement to these goods, as vocal waves duet with flagellated tin and light patterings of skull drums. Those wasping Sanskrits’ spine-tingling in subliminal whispers, eerie ebbs in the monastic hum.
For those unfamiliar with Phurpa, they are a Russian-based musical collective that play ritual music of ancient Tibet, an authentic sensibility that encompasses their instrumentation, skull drums, thighbone trumpets and the like, all held in check by a meaty tantric moan.
The tile Chöd means “to sever” or “cutting through”, and this particular ritual is meant to sever your consciousness from your ego, to bathe you in a universal emptiness where you can feast on your fears and obstacles. Whether this is the case for the listener is another matter, but I’m really digging the spiritual intensity of this regardless. Its stark and powerful verve is more than a touch overpowering, and as the second disc whirs into action, the heralding trumpets really do a great job of channelling something other.
The super-slowed vibrato that follows, the “Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa / Uuuurrs/ Orrrrrrrrrrrr” elongations shiver-frosting your head bathed in the odd clash of metallics. Didgeridoo-like tapers dragging you further into the flux. A fraught drone that seems to be levitating, focus-popping the foreground in apparitional strands, bubbling dimensionally in growling sub-textures that catch you unawares. Odd sensations that are more than a little bit unnerving.

Vital Weekly:
Then in the blackest cover of these three, (black on black print) we find the album ‘Chöd’ by Phurpa and the title means ‘being cut off’ in Tibetan. Phurpa are shamans from Moscow, who specialize in ‘rgyud-skad’ singing, using traditional instruments, often made from human bones. “Chöd is the practice of sacrificing the body”, I read in the text that came along, not just for ‘enlighted beings, but also the residents of the six realms of existence, including the essence of hell and the spiritual ‘filth’ there is, all possible demons’. I already reviewed some of their darker than dark throat singing and slow drumming on skins and whistling on bones (see for instance Vital Weekly 789, 803 and 948), but it seems that this new release is even darker than before and also seems to be relying more and more on the use of voices. Bone trumpets and skin drums are now quite sparse in the two times forty-five minute pieces that we get on both CDs. I must admit I only partly enjoyed this work as it is from a world that is simply not mine.

Każdy, komu na tegorocznym Unsoundzie spodobał się poprzedzający Death Grips występ indonezyjskiego projektu Senyawa, oddającego kult tradycyjnemu ludowemu śpiewowi gardłowemu, ten koniecznie powinien zwrócić uwagę (o ile jeszcze tego nie zrobił) na album Chöd grupy Phurpa. Ostatecznie uformowana na początku lat dwutysięcznych trupa wpuszcza nas do mistycznej przestrzeni wschodnich obrządków mantrycznych, zakorzenionych w szamańskiej tradycji Bön. Tytuł albumu w języku tybetańskim oznacza przerażający rytuał, w którym ciało ofiarowywane jest na pożywkę demonom.
Niewyobrażalnie wręcz niskie, pochodzące z głębi ciała zaśpiewy, jakie słyszymy przez większą część materiału, poruszają każdą cząstkę ciała słuchacza. Kontrastujące z nimi brzmienie wykonanych często z ludzkich kości tradycyjnych instrumentów mrozi krew w żyłach. W zakres tego przerażającego instrumentarium wchodzi między innymi Damaru, czyli tybetański bęben, wykonany z ludzkiej czaszki i skóry oraz Kanlin – trąbka z kości udowej. Ponad 90-minutowy, składający się z dwóch płyt materiał wprowadza nas w medytacyjny nastrój oczyszczenia. Odbiór albumu wymaga maksymalnego skupienia i najlepiej sprawdza się, kiedy pozostawimy wszystkie inne zajęcia, zamkniemy oczy i oddamy się w całości mistycznej moskiewskiej grupie.

Immaginate un monastero sperduto in un luogo inaccessibile situato in una montagna nascosta del Tibet: all’interno di esso una setta di monaci, ultimo avamposto di uomini isolatisi volontariamente dal mondo, celebra un rituale occulto e mistico suonando ossa umane e intonando antichi canti tibetani. In questo modo avrete un’idea di quel si ascolta nell’ultimo disco dei Phurpa – gruppo originario di Mosca – intitolato significativamente Chöd: il Chödd e’ la pratica del sacrificio del corpo umano e il termine ben raffigura quella che e’ la filosofia esoterica alla base di questo enigmatico lavoro. Chöd e’ un album di una potenza mantrica impressionante, caratterizzato dall’uso del canto tradizionale dei monaci tibetani, dalla meditazione e dall’uso di vari strumenti tradizionali, spesso costituiti da ossa umane. Si tratta in realta’ di un vero e proprio rituale che mira a portare l’ascoltatore in uno stato di meditazione in cui possa raggiungere i 6 regni dell’esistenza e sperimentare letteralmente l’esperienza dell’Inferno e dei suoi demoni. Si tratta di pratiche antichissime e spaventose che, tradizionalmente, si tenevano in localita’ desolate e solitarie dove si pregava accanto ai corpi sepolti e smembrati di animali selvaggi. I monaci che si dedicavano a queste pratiche erano chiamati “Yogi folli”. Chöde’ diviso in 2 cd per una durata di oltre 90 minuti: siamo di fronte a un’esperienza di ascolto impegnativa e intensa: occorre approcciare con cautela e con la giusta predisposizione un disco di questo tipo il cui scopo va chiaramente oltre la musica inducendo uno stato di meditazione e di trance. Se guardiamo a esperienza passate non possono non venire in mente certe esperienze esoteric-industrial dei primi Current93 e Coil ma qui tutto e’ rigorosamente ‘tradizionale” e fedele allo spirito originale di questo rituali. Musica per “viaggiatori mentali’, per chi vuol far venir fuori l’animale mistico che e’ in lui e per chi ha un certo interesse per l’esoterismo. “Chod” esce in una bella e lussuosa edizione limitata rigorosamente a 400 copie con copertina in 3-panel ecopak
The title of this work is a Tibetan term which roughly means “being cut off” and is the practice of
sacrificing the body. According to the liner notes, this practice include the completeness of existence which
includes the bright part of being and the darker ones. As in their previous releases, the musical form is
based on voices and traditional instruments and is based in a relatively non occidental canon as their vision
of drone is less related to sound and completely focused on an aid to meditation.
The first part of this release starts with a vocal chant where the most bass frequencies of the voice are
explored to obtain something between the religious rite and experimental music; where the voices stop sparse
beat appear as a small interlude between sections. The second section of the track is based on traditional
wind instruments, with a sound similar to a bagpipe, that create a dialectic between the two registers as if
there’s was a cold and a cold light. The voice return in the third section with a more tight dialogue with
the drum and is resolved by the voice which returns to the point where the track started.
The second part is opened by the wind instruments which develop the tension of the second section of the
first part into a sort of juxtaposition of two lines, a fast one and a slow one, and their dynamics is able
to evolve in a clear dialectic as one voice is highlighted with respect to the other in real alternation
until the fast line close the section. The second section is focused on the chant which slowly evolves from
bass pitches to higher ones with small silent section with sparse cymbal’s shot between the tone’s change,
until the resonances of the recording room close this release.
This release is a sonic monolith which could be rated as a masterpiece without any doubt, however their music
is so extreme that the casual listener could be overwhelmed and eject the disc after few minutes. The patient
ones, and fans on drones, will be taken into a deep reflection on existence and meditate a lot on it.
Obviously unrated but it’s one of the records of the year.

Musique Machine:
Chöd is latest audio ritual from Phurpa- the Russian collective who creating dark unearthly, trance inducing,
and at times terrifying sonic fare with a mix of throat singing & traditional/ non-traditional Tibetan
ritual instruments. This new work is their most epic yet, with the two part piece spread over two CDS, and
coming in at around the 90 minutes mark.
I’ll have to admit that past work I’d heard by Phurpa rather left me in two minds. On the positive side; I
could appreciate the distinctive, unequal & highly moody sound they created. But on the negative side; I
often found it a little shape-less, gimmick-led, and really more suited to see to a live setting. So I was
rather pleasantly surprised by Chöd, as I’ve found myself often returning to its darkly stern, deeply
haunting, yet captivating whole. Which I guess is a little odd, as you’d expect with a longer work such as
this the shape-less & better-in-a-live settings criticism would be even more telling, but really this on
the whole feels a lot more structured, flowing, and planned out- where as the past work felt less so.
As mentioned in the opening paragraph the work is split up into two parts, and each cd offers up a single
track. The first part opens with a distant ritual chimes, possible water sounds, and then a collection of
deep, dark, and buzzing throat vocalising. As the work progresses on we get the addition of slow drum hits, &
later moving onto simmering yet grim horn like drones. Along with a wider selection of vocalising, taut yet
subtle ritual percussive additions, and blackly buzzing string reverberations. On a whole this part is more
varied in it’s sound use, and it both nicely sucks you into the whole atmosphere of the work, and sets up the
mood for the less active( though no less worthy) second part.
The second part is seemingly more set on this sort continual churning & deep throat singing mantra, which is
focused into a fairly narrow & deep tonally range that collective plough again & again. I’m guessing there
must be around three or four people doing the singing here, as physical one or two person couldn’t keep this
up for such sustained time. From time to time you get additions of minimum ritual chimes, gong strikes, or
breaks- but mostly it just keeps rolling on with this very brooding & amassed vocal like drone.
According to the release press release in Tibetan chöd roughly means “being cut off”. And the whole piece is
so, so deep in both dread & doomy atmosphere, that you can almost imagine the dead rising to it.
In summing up I was most surprised by how many times I’ve played & enjoy Chöd over the last month or so. Sure
it’s still not an album I can see myself returning in multiple different situations/moods, as it really does
not vary much in tone or sonic shade- but as dark meditative music & sounds to sinisterly lose ones self,
it’s most worthy.

Dentro del llamado movimiento post-industrialexisten distintos tipos de bandas que practican la llamada
música ritual, inaugurada por el sello Nekrophile Rekords y Psychic TV durante los albores de los años
ochenta. Las hay que presentan ciertos matices rituales, y después están otras que, sencillamente, realizan
auténticos rituales en sí mismos, como es el caso de los rusos Phurpa.
Lo más admirable de este colectivo ruso es la desusada manera de ejecutar sus actuaciones. Resulta muy
difícil definir una actuación de Phurpa como tal, ya que no se trata de eso. Realmente lo que esta agrupación
realiza se encuentra escorado más hacia la religión que hacia el espectáculo. En “Chöd”, su último
lanzamiento, registrado en directo en la ciudad de Moscú durante el mes de abril de este mismo año, Phurpa
experimenta un desafío trascendental de aproximadamente noventa minutos en el que cantos tibetanos tejidos a
base de voces guturales, que ocasionalmente se dividen provocando diafonías, se diluyen entre percusiones y
trémulas notas proferidas por instrumentos ceremoniales. La experiencia resulta algo realmente metafísico,
trascendental. Hablamos de sonidos que se encuentran lejos del estado de complacencia, que no buscan agradar
ni sorprender de forma directa. Su objetivo es otro bien distinto: traspasar los estados del alma y la
consciencia humana.Phurpa – “Chöd”
De hecho, el propio título del trabajo ya es en sí mismo una declaración de intenciones: ‘Chöd’, en la
filosofía budista, es una práctica cuyo fin es desvincularse del mayor enemigo del ser humano: el EGO. Sí
amigos, lo que hoy alimentamos ávidamente por medio de canales como Facebook, es para la mayor parte de las
religiones orientales la cuna de todos los males. Y es que la Individualidad es un peso que el sujeto debe
cargar a sus espaldas, y el ego es la mochila en la que se deposita. Pues bien, el Chöd busca por medio de
prácticas rituales despojarse de toda la materialidad experiencial que pueda perturbar nuestra existencia
para liberarnos, y así formar parte de lo cósico como un Todo material en sí mismo. Como una sola y única
concepción indefinible. “Chöd” es una escalera que debemos subir y, posteriormente, arrojar al vacío, para
despojarnos de todo lo aprendido.
La edición realizada por Zoharum hace justicia a la singular esencia de Phurpa. Se presenta en doble CD
magistralmente encofrado en un ecopak de tres paneles con doble carpeta. Su tirada ha sido estrictamente
limitada a cuatrocientos ejemplares.
“Chöd” se resuelve como una experiencia única y altamente recomendable para todos los amantes del ritual. No
lo pases por alto.

Grisli Canalblog:
Le Tibet et le Bouddhisme ne faisant pas partie de mes intérêts, j’en ai appris pas mal sur la musique de Bön
dont se réclame ce collectif russe, Phurpa. Je recrache donc que c’est une musique à base d’instruments
rituels, des chants de gorge très prononcés et aussi une survivance du chamanisme qui a été avalée (en tout
bien tout honneur) par le tantrisme.
Depuis 2003, le Phurpa d’Alexei Tegin donne donc dans (et étudie en parallèle) le Bön. Sans avoir rien
entendu de son groupe avant, j’ose quand même décréter que ce Chöd enregistré il y a peu en public à Moscou
est une performance réussie. Sur deux CD, en plus ! On fait connaissance avec les voix graves, plus encore
avec les instruments d’un autre temps (vuvuzelas old school = dungkar & dungchen), jusqu’à ce qu’elles se
fassent rattraper par les percussions (silnuyen, nga, shang, rolmo…). Mais ça continue de psalmodier à tout
rompre : de quoi se mettre au tantrisme maintenant et tout de suite histoire de ne pas finir dernier du