Master of Time

By Susie Ibarra & Tashi Dorji

Album: Master of Time -- Tashi Dorji



Astral Spirits

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“n 2019, the Tang Museum at Skidmore College presented The Second Buddha: Master of Time, an exhibition concerning Padmasambhava, the guru credited with bringing Buddhism to Tibet during the eighth century. Along with lectures and exhibits both visual and virtual, the museum commissioned a concert—conceived as a “musical bardo exploration”—by Susie Ibarra, a Philippine American percussionist, and Tashi Dorji, a Bhutan-raised guitarist who’s been based in Asheville, North Carolina, since 2000. Buddhism does not figure strongly in the work of either musician, but rhythm does. Following early experiences with Philippine kulintang music and free jazz, Ibarra has used sound art as a means of addressing concerns about cultural and environmental survival and renewal. Dorji came to free improvisation from punk rock, and he’s never forsaken his early commitments to social engagement and musical intensity. The bardo is the transitional state between death and rebirth, and on the album of the duo’s performance, also called Master of Time, the disparities between the musicians’ styles introduce one layer of in-betweenness; the give-and-take of their grooves going in and out of sync with each other provides a second. The LP comprises two side-length excerpts from the concert (the download adds two shorter tracks) that explore the juxtaposition and disruption of rhythms. During “Confluence,” Dorji’s jagged, distorted tone cleaves Ibarra’s rushes of pure sound and rustling textures like the chop of a rusty guillotine blade. “The Way of the Clouds,” on the other hand, morphs from a face-off between gradually evolving grooves to an exchange of stark gestures in mostly empty space.” -Bill Meyer, Chicago Reader

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Shipping from: Chicago