Genre/Influences: Ritual, ambient.
Background/Info: Set up in 2003, Phurpa is a Russian collective inspired by ritual music and Buddhism. It also is a prolific formation, which is releasing multiple albums a year. The main characteristic of the band remains the special type of tantric overtone singing/chanting, called gyukye (rgyud skad), from Tibetan words ‘rgyud’ (tantra) and ‘skad’ (sound of the voice). This singing is based on the principle of practitioner’s transmogrification during chanting meditation. This technique is achieved through an extensive training, including both meditation and physical, breathing and vocal exercises.
Content: Each disc features a long during piece of music, which more sounds as pure meditation. Next to the particular and tantric overtone, buzzing meditation chants the band is also using authentic Tibetan instruments reinforcing the ambient part of the work, which however remains ritual-like.
+ + + : Phurpa is a very unique experience in the ritual music genre. You directly recognize the collective throughout the buzzing chants. You feel like assisting to a ceremony in the mystic temples of Tibet. It remains a particular sensation for me personally as I ever got the opportunity visiting Tibet and numerous temples where monks were performing similar ceremonies. No doubt about it, this way of singing is absolutely singular and needs an active practice, but I especially enjoy the sharp sound of the Tibetan horns.
– – – : The other side of the coin is that the sound and singing formula of Phurpa is pretty repetitive and suffering from a lack of diversity. I’m especially missing more ‘music’, the main part of the recording being based upon the chants.
Conclusion: Phurpa is an invitation to meditation and an opportunity to get into your inner-self.
Best songs: Untitled.