Tibetan Bells II Henry Wolff Nancy Hennings
Tibetan Bells II is the second album by Henry Wolff and Nancy Hennings, makers of Tibetan Bells (1971), the original "underground classic." The present record is the musical and metaphysical heir to the album that introduced the exquisite tonalities of the bells of Tibet to the Western World.
The first Tibetan Bells was recorded in London, England, and released in America the following year, 1972, imitated by many, matched by none, the album quietly but quickly took a permanent place in the music of a New Age in search of a sound that would echo a new visionary consciousness. In the space of some few years Tibetan Bells came to be recognized as a landmark in the topography of that New Age.
Yet Tibetan Bells II, if anything, surpasses its predecessor. The new album is the outcome of further years of study, travel and experiment by Henry Wolff and Nancy Hennings, two musicians resolutely in quest of the "sound between the spaces." Bringing together musical elements never before associated, sounds vastly separate in time, space and tradition, the musicians have advanced across remote areas of sound only indicated by the earlier, pioneering Tibetan Bells.
In the present record, Tibetan Bells II, the ancient resonances of the bells of Tibet are deployed within a musical framework uncompromisingly 20th Century, and Western. Tibetan Bells II is an unprecedented synthesis of the sounds of East and West, of Past and Present, of Then-Now, of Here-Beyond.
The instruments of the new album, as those of its forerunner, are exclusively the bells of Tibet. These remarkable instruments have been described elsewhere. Yet it is a striking fact that the tones of Tibetan bells -- the indigenous products of a highly evolved yet little known Asian culture -- have often been confused with the ultra-modern sounds of electronic music.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The Tibetan bell tones, often thought to be "reminiscent of impulses of electronic origin, yet (are) too rich harmonically to have been produced by any synthetic process." In the present album there is no electronic tampering. "Often riding a haunting echo of unrivaled duration, the bells of Tibet are an 'audible smoky-mirror image' of a perceived domain beyond common hearing and beyond common sight."
The resonances of the bells owe nothing to outside sources. Unearthly, timeless, they are their own.
The musical idiom developed by Henry Wolff and Nancy Hennings has transported -- and surprised -- Westerners and Tibetans alike.
Their concert appearances in Europe and America have unfailingly been received with fascination and enthusiasm, but nothing has pleased the musicians themselves more than the reception given them during a visit to the monastery of H.H. Karmapa, near Gangtok, Sikkim. After taking initiation at the hands of the Karmapa, yogic master of the Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism, the musicians went on to perform before him. It was then that the Karmapa, in a remark characteristic of his grave whimsy, declared the music of the bells to be "the sound of the Void."
Tibetan Bells II was recorded in San Francisco in the summer of 1978. No pains were spared by the production team to capture the rich brilliance of the bells -- a task all but beyond the most sophisticated London studio in 1971. Taking a single example, the astonishingly high frequencies of the bells -- which eluded sound technicians in 1971 -- are faithful reproduced in Tibetan Bells II for the first time. With this album, paradoxically, the 20th Century recording technique has "caught up" with the subtle sounds of a music originating in the heartlands of Asia centuries ago.
SIDE I "Journey to the End" (24:15) A. 1. Continuum/Warp (2:08) Composed and Performed by Henry Wolff 2. The Illusory Body (4:11) Composed and Performed by Henry Wolff & Nancy Hennings 3. Skybells I (2:35) Composed and Performed by Nancy Hennings 4. Shadow and Distances (3:07) Composed and Performed by Hamza El Din 5. Skybells II (2:33) Composed and Performed by Nancy Hennings 6. The Silver Eye (4.10) Composed and Performed by Henry Wolff B. 1. The Sword Behind the Buddha-Smile (2:03) Composed and Performed by Henry Wolff & Nancy Hennings 2. The Seven Sounds of Dissolution (3:28) Composed and Performed by Henry Wolff & Nancy Hennings
SIDE II "The Endless Journey" (23:40) 1. Leaving the Body (7:15) Composed by Henry Wolff; Performed by Henry Wolff, Nancy Hennings, Drew Gladstone, Sandy Sawyer. 2. Astral Plane (5:03) Composed by Henry Wolff; Performed by Henry Wolff, Nancy Hennings, Drew Gladstone, Sandy Sawyer. 3. Through the Void (11:22) Composed and Performed by Henry Wolff and Nancy Hennings.
Typed by Cheryl Vega 6-16-95