Sunday, November 23, 2008

David Parsons - Ngaio Gamelan

Well folks its my 200th post and to celebrate a very special record
that few people have heard about, from an artist few people know
anything about. When I first heard this record it threw me head
long into a incredible, expansive musical world. It was on a show
on the ultra amazing Internet radio station Hearts of Space, I
first heard this record, on the first show of theirs I heard.
I've lost count of how much new music HOS has introduced me
to, but this post is about David Parsons
David comes from New Zealand, with some 13 albums to his
name and a number of world music site recorded album sets
including the mammoth 15 volume Music of Islam and the
fantastic 5 volume Music of Armenia. He plays many
instruments, sitar being the one that started his musical
After nearly five years of traveling, including 11 months on the
road in one year, the Parsons family returned to New Zealand
in 1997. Parsons finally returned to his own music. Consciously,
he says, his approach hadn’t changed. He was still working
intuitively, still picking up the sitar when he needed a burst
of inspiration. But subconsciously, he suspects a profound
influence. “I couldn’t believe the precision of the rhythms
we heard while we were traveling,” he says. “So my approach
didn’t change, but the materials and ideas did.” Drawing on
the melodies and instruments he had recorded around the
Eastern Hemisphere, Parsons set to work on a project that
would bring the amazing experience of the world’s ancient
acoustic traditions into an electronic setting.
It would become the record Ngaio Gamelan.
Using samples of his hours of recordings of instruments like
the Armenian duduk (an oboe made of apricot wood), the Iranian
(a spike fiddle), and the sarangi (the Indian box cello),
Parsons created a sound world that was enriched by his years of
travel. The trademark darkness that colored his prior recordings
was leavened somewhat by the brilliant chimes of the Indonesian
gamelan, the metal percussion orchestras of Java and Bali .
“I knew the duduk would fit with the Balinese gamelan,”
he says. But the practicalities of bringing those two tunings
and traditions together would have been difficult to do without
electronics. After spending so much time with some of the world’s
great acoustic traditions,
Parsons says, “it was hard to warm up to synthesizers again.
But if you use them for what they can do, not what they can’t do,
it works out. The synthesizer is good at aural landscapes
and sound sculptingcreating sounds you’ve never heard before.”
Since Balinese gamelans are tuned to specific scales,
Parsons had to play the sounds into his sampler and then
'temper' the sampled sounds to fit into the scale needed.
This record is a true masterpiece.

01 - Urarto to Ubud
02 - Tjampuhan
03 - Laplapan
04 - Ararat Legong
05 - Jalan Jalan
06 - Sarangi Saron

Download Here

David Parsons - Ararat Legong


mr.kenneth said...

happy 200th bob!

here's to 200 more fabulous posts from you!


bob nebe said...

As Ringo said, its been with a little
help from my friends,
So kenneth are you going to see Leonard?
I know you want to :>)
ciao bob

Anonymous said...

I've been listening to David Parsons since Tibetan Plateau came out on cassette. Ngaio Gamelan is a good album. Although I think he's gotten a bit turgid texturally in recent years, I think Yatra remains his world fusion masterpiece.

limburg said...

Hey Bob congratulations for those 200 post!!!!

Let´s find some more gemms in the 200 next ones


bob nebe said...

Thanks echos for your input, you'd be more the expert on ambient than me,(and what a cool blog you have)
I guess I really like this because of the instruments, gamelan and all that metallic percussion,fantastic combination.
ciao bob

bob nebe said...

Thanks Limburg, I have a beauty of a post coming next
ciao bob

mr.kenneth said...

no bob ... I'm not going to see Leonard.

I have much of his visit in the 80's @ QPAC burnt into my brain and had a most wonderful seat in which to take in all of the wonder and subtlety of his grand performance.

I was seriously disappointed when I heard he was playing that big barn at Boondall. For mr.Cohen, I fear so much will get lost and swamped in there. Damn shame. A smaller venue and I would've been there most certainly. He's a dead set legend.

If you haven't caught him before, you'll have a wonderful concert experience mate. Enjoy!


bob nebe said...

I know what you mean about Boondall,
I was surprised, I was hoping for seats up on stage for $200 however hopefully i'll be able to see him with my binoculars.
I am looking forward to it however.
The QPAC gig must have been incredible.
ciao bob

Ficciones arte said...

hi nice blog!, lol thats my youtube video XD.


bob nebe said...

Gracias Finniones Arte,
You have a nice blog
Great video by the way I was surprised
to find a David Parsons video
ciao bob

vaubu said...

Thanks Bob! I'm really excited to listen to this. I've always loved several of his recordings of gamelan such as his series in Cambodia and the jegog (bamboo) recordings in Bali are just amazing! And I've been enjoying some 'synthesized gamelan' recordings by Gregory Taylor and Pauline Oliveros. You may find some other creative takes on gamelan see my blog:

bob nebe said...

Thank you Vaubu, love your blog im going to put a link from my blog, I love gamelan, actually i love a lot of instrumental stuff that while its world music it seems to fall into ambient category. Tango is a bit like that.
ciao bob

Ficciones arte said...

hiii!! friend, check y new david parsons video on youtube ;) i've used some footage from the movie Powaaqatsi

best wishes,

bob nebe said...

Thanks marco I shall now

queenofthenile said...

Thanks for the info on David Parsons. I found his music the other day while searching for some lovely sounds to put on my blog. Wonderful. I thought I recognised the duduk on that track from "Urarto to Ubud". Love that sound. Levon Minassian's CD "Songs from a World Apart" is sublimely beautiful.

bob nebe said...

Thank you Queenofthenile I shall check out Levon Minassian its not a name I'm familiar with but your recommendation has got my interest

Philip Eliason said...

Dear David,

It is 30 June 2009. I have returned to Canberra from Yemen. In Sana'a, Dr Nizar Ghanem wants to get in touch with you again. I see him at oud nights and have met another musician Hamoud who was with you on your Celestial music project. I'm on

Anonymous said...

Hi, looks like a fun blog. Will be checking it out. I came by googling for a copy of this album. Lost mine in a move.
Any way you can share it via a link that is not dead. The button you offer leads to four dead ones.