YANTRA = the mandala like visual art from India which, in fact, are created to depict particular sonic wave forms.
TANTRA = physical practise
YANTRA TANTRA then, is the title chosen by Z’EV to refer to particular sonic events
where the intent is about triggering a transformative experience rather than simply producing musical enjoyment.
These events occur in the complete dark with the participants lying on mats.
Their purpose is to produce a synaesthetic experience in the listener, that is, the audio becomes visual and people are seeing what they are hearing.
The visuals are produced by what is known as phosphene activity.
For example, most people see colors or geometric patterns (pressure phosphenes) when they close their eyes and press against their eyeballs.
So when placed in absolute darkness and presented with an encompassing sonic environment, this sensory input begins to drive one’s phonsphene activity.
And being in the dark, when one opens one’s eyes, one perceives the visuals as being ‘outside’ ones self.
People report a variety of psychic / emotional experiences focused through a range of visualizations that match descriptions of light visions in the ancient Vedic scriptures and in yoga meditation texts of the Hindu and Tibetan Buddhist traditions.
These range from abstract firework-like flashings to geometric imagery to cartoon-like animations to visions that are as representational as if they were a dream or guided meditation.
Listening in the dark also produces an extreme sense of time dilation, the 20 minute event seeming to last, for example, either a few minutes or an hour.
NEEDS + PROCEDURE
a resonant room which can be rendered completely dark and gymnastic mats for the floor, enabling the audience to lie down and completely relax [ie ‘loose their body’]
1-20 people per session is about optimum.
I have found that the best way to arrange these events is for people to reserve a time slot – there are generally two 20 minute sessions per hour [not including the few minutes ‘settling in’ and ‘de-compression time’ at end per session].
So this works out to 2 an hour, beginning on the hour and on the half-hour.
Note that total length of event can be up to 12 hours.
A REVIEW OF YANTRA-TANTRA AT THE OCCULTURE FESTIVAL, BRIGHTON, JULY 2003
uploaded: 22 July 2003 by Gyrus at www.norloto.net
Location: Sallis Benney Theatre, Brighton 19 July 2003 ….
I bounced around the venue for a bit afterwards, bumping into people I met once years ago, and then happening upon Australia’s own avatar of Shub Niggurath, Orryelle. “Are you coming along to the Z’EV performance?” he asked. I hadn’t planned on it. In retrospect, I think Z’EV was off my radar because flicking through his Qabalistic drumming manual, Rhythmajik, had always left me cold.
Anyway, before I could register anything, there I was, in a large bare room surrounded by people lying on mats, Z’EV in the corner with his array of gongs talking about the use of percussion in the dark to induce phosphene activity behind the eyelids. I lay down, the door closed, and away we went… .
Barely a minute had passed before I had to take off my shoes to earth the fluttering judders of caffeinated energy coursing through my body, which was sensitized anyway because of my recent intensive Hatha Yoga practices.
Z’EV piled in with some rolling metallic thunder and rattles, only to ebb quickly away into gentler ebbs and flows of ringing and chiming, which persisted to the end of the twenty-minute piece. I did notice some impressions of energy funneling down and into me, together with some ladder-like imagery, but mostly I was trying to manage the intense caffeine high as it was channeled down my quivering limbs by the insistent, trance-inducing percussion.
I had to walk around the rest of the day barefoot to keep connected, and the eerie-but-not-unpleasant tingling on the crown of my skull took hours to fade away. So there you go. Even as we’re told to not judge books by their covers, don’t judge a musician by their books. The reality of Z’EV’s work is far removed from the dry appearances of Gematria. Catch him if you ever have the chance.
Since the 1970’s Z’EV has worked in a variety of media and was one of the founders of the cultural movement now known as ‘Industrial’.
He is one of the world’s premier solo percussionists and has published two books based on sacred Middle Eastern texts and teachings [Rhythmajik and Sapphire Nature].
Since 1985 he has been presenting Yantra-Tantras at a variety of venues throughout Europe and the US.