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Say Those Words For Me

Nat Evans

Circuit Church
CC003 | 2020-08-14  
Say Those Words For Me is a work by Nat Evans dedicated to Ryuzen Robby Pellett, Evans' long time teacher in Zen Buddhism who passed away unexpectedly in August of 2019 at the age of 63. Pellett was a towering influence on Evans' life for over 15 years. From aesthetic aspects of his practice as an artist, to how he conducted himself in the world, to what he does for a living - the river that flowed forth from his teaching and mentorship made an indelible mark on Evans' life.

This new work Say Those Words For Me is in two parts. Eponymously named first track is a mandala of sound that slowly unfolds for the listener over time. Evans inherited a number of temple bells from his teacher, and a long composed improvisation with these bells dominates the soundscape. At times, other aspects representative of Zen sounds drift through - ritualistic performances of moving his teacher's prayer beads over bones, sampled low frequencies drift in and dominate briefly like a ghost. At other times, clusters of sounds enter; the sounds between words spoken by Evans' teacher were sampled from cassette tapes and assembled as moments of counterpoint to the bells and other field recordings. In one of the talks, Pellett described performing a memorial service as a priest, and expressed comfort in knowing that when the time came for his own passing, someone would, 'say those words for me.' The work ends with nine bells - symbolic of nine bows one makes to show respect for someone who has passed away.

Track two, entitled Hanamatsuri, is simply one, long unedited field recording made on Hanamatsuri, a holiday celebrating the Buddha's birth. Evans' teacher often would have tea under a blooming cherry tree on this day to celebrate. In his absence, Evans had tea under a blooming cherry tree in his stead and made this recording. Birds move through from time to time, bamboo rustles in the background competing with traffic sounds, and the world slowly wakes up as the blossoms on the tree drifted away, and at times blew away like pink snow in a gust of wind.

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