Oophoi - Bardo
Order Number ELCD024
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"Oophoi is Gianluigi Gasporetti, an Italian native who has embraced the meditative musical culture of Tibetan Buddhism. He began collecting records from all manners of styles from an early age and started his own musical leaps through the dark in 1995. Recording in a stall beside a 15th century stone house in central Italy which he has named The Kiva. Oophoi creates what has been termed 'Space Music' that is, intensely meditative soundscapes, if you will, that have become quite prevalent in today's new age culture.
These compositions are based on four of the six states of the Bardo, a path towards enlightenment and the recreation of wind, sky and endless space are all quite effective. Long, droning chants, washes of low synth noise at incredibly slow tempos reminds us that these sounds were devised for an existence predating our CD format.
Utilising the 'traditional' instruments, such as synths and samplers, Gasporetti also brings more acoustic elements such as singing bowls, flutes and woodchimes into the mix to create a kind of soft, electronic breathing. And believe me, to hear your stereo over in the corner breathing away is something strange and often wonderful to behold." review by Joel Hedrick for indie-cds.com 2005
"Bardo" is the first non-Russian album released on the electronic music label "Electroshock Records". Oophoi is Italy's Gianluigi Gasparetti who had already provided a track for the compilation "Electroshock Presents: "Electroacoustic Music. Vol. VII". "Bardo" came out shortly after the release of "Athlit" on the label "Hypnos" and forays deeper into ambient spiritual electronics. There are six states of consciousness in the Tibetan bardo, a meditative rite of passage from Life to Death. Oophoi retains four of them expressed in lengthy tracks (12 to 29 minutes). Integrated to the vaporous layers of synthesizers and electronics we find flutes, gongs, Tibetan singing bowls, light percussion, and voices droning incantations. Oophoi's intention is clearly not to indulge in exotic flavors, although a sense of sacred Tibetan music is integrated to the work. The key word is dissolution: reference points, memories of daily life, recognizable rhythms and sounds all fade away in the course of the four pieces, replaced by ethereal synth washes. It is very well done, albeit a little on the long side. "Chikai Bardo: Dissolution" reaches an interesting point of balance between treated concrete sounds (a train or subway in particular, evoking movement, transition) and synthesis. The closer "Sipai Bardo: Crossing the Bridge of Existence - The Eternal Cycle" feels like a series of deep after-death breaths, all electronic except for vocal droning, but with a very organic touch. Recommended to the contemplative type." - Francois Couture ("All-Music Guide")
"Bardo" consists of four lengthy tracks, each one a sequence of electronic drones overlaid with Tibetan percussion and other sounds, though these are mixed so low down that you almost hear them by inference rather than by definition. From the sleevenotes I assume that Bardo is a type of eastern meditation, and each of these tracks is designed to help one meditate to a specific goal. These tracks aren't really music as we know it, the drones lock onto a pitch and don't vary, only the overlaid tracks slowly evolve. As a sound installation it works well, creating barriers around the listener that block out distractions and help one focus on meditating or just the task at hand. I think Oophoi is an Italian and this doesn't surprise me - for all of its "musique concrete" feel these four tracks have a baroque ornateness to them. I'm still not sure whether I like this album as it tends to defy categorisation." - John Peters ("The Borderland")
"Funny coincidence, I am in Italy while reviewing this 74 minute long CD by an Italian sound sculptor/manipulator (whose name is Gianluigi Gasparetti), released on the Russian label Electroshock; not only that, but in a shameless display of my ignorance I will admit you that I had never before heard about this man and his project, even though I lived in Italy for over 15 years and I started Chain D.L.K. in Italy, in the mid nineties. Oophoi is the first non-Russian project to see the light (in this case maybe the blue light) on "Electroshock Records". Anyway, once I got over my shame, I dove into the deep surrounding drones of "Bardo", a concept album about the six states of Bardo, which, from what I understand from the liner notes of the inside cover, is related to the Tibetan meditation and the Buddhist beliefs about transitory states of body and mind. The four tracks illustrate the first four of these intermediate states (Meditation, Course of Death, After-Death and Rebirth within Samsara) and original language was used to name the tracks as well. "Bardos" long masterpieces of rapturing spirituality can easily get you really close to meditation with its deep roaring sounds and the sombre yet peaceful soundscapes made of low-end choruses sounding like Tibetan choirs one or two octave down, eternal electronics, infinite synth pads, treated percussions, sporadic calm gongs and more. Tibetan singing bowls and flutes are to be heard, but everything, like Bardo itself, is in a state of passage, like not delineated, airy, far, slightly but never fully perceivable. The essence of the beauty of the things that are by you, around you, in you, but you can never see or touch until you reach that point in time and space where everything receives new meaning under a different light. Oophoi's "Bardo" is a first-rate soundtrack for this, a fully deserving and remarkable plate of truly inspiring and immersive experiences, where the incantation of a sacred temple in the middle of the mountains is right in front of your closed eyes, and where the senses receive new food for the soul. Beautiful and charming may not be the most appropriate terms when describing a record of intimate relaxation, but this distant trance-ambient ritualistic outer-body experience really is. "Bardo ends where illumination begins". -
Mark Urselli-Scharer ("Chain D.L.K.")