Razen - The Xvoto Reels LP
“When we listened to the tape reels months after the recording sessions at the St Martin’s Church, we were forced into noticing that a presence had placed itself on all of the recordings. A presence playing tricks with the dynamics and the church acoustics, leaving inexplainable sound prints and cuts on the reels, turning our music into stray phantoms, as if what was left on the tapes was only a vague recollection of the sessions, reducing the slowed down ragas we had had in mind into a version so different and frayed yet at the same time so layered and eternal, that at first we had a hard time recognizing our original ideas, let alone deciding whether this was not too personal, intimate and obscure at all to let it out into the world, because what we had in our hands now, was the sound of a deeply private dream, a message from the subconscious, rather than a collection of tracks by five improvising musicians.
It did not take us long before we observed that what was lost in terms of our original expectations of these recordings (the precision of our tunings and interplay, proper endings and beginnings, clearer definition of sound) we had suddenly gained on other and far more worthier levels; the levels of randomness, unexpectedness and irrationality, precisely the sort of qualities our improvised music had always embraced, which were now put to the fore in a manner we had not yet encountered.
So here it is. More than the sum of tabla + hurdy gurdy + recorders + double bass + church organ. More than the sum of 5 musicians + tape engineer + church acoustics. The Xvoto Reels – a prayer in the halflight, a comforting sermon out of St Martin’s Church - is a version of Razen where the music played itself, and chance dictated what essence of this was allowed to be captured. We look back on those days in August as a moment in time where in fact, we ourselves and all those involved had become the instruments, in a way such as described by Inayat Khan: “I played the vina until my heart had changed into the same instrument. Ever since I have become His instrument, and whenever He wishes, He plays me with His music”.
A1 Ray of Halflight Prayer 1:52
A2 Dunes Spell Runes on the Edge of Town 7:31
A3 Ash Reversal 3:17
A4 Rover Fortunes 8:29
B1 Reversal Dub 12:20
B2 Death Reel 10:01
church organ: Brecht Ameel
shawm & recorders: Kim Delcour
hurdy gurdy: Paul Garriau
5string bass & sarangi: Pieter Lenaerts
tabla: Suchet Malhotra