Friday, 4 May 2018

Jordan De La Sierra - Gymnosphere: Song Of The Rose (1977)

Meditative minimal piano from Jordan De La Sierra, born Jordan Stenberg in California in 1947.  Having spent the early 70s soaking up ideas from meetings with La Monte Young, Terry Riley and Pandit Pran Nath, De La Sierra recorded Gymnosphere: Song of the Rose in 1976 in a small Berkeley studio.  Five hours of retuned (following the intonation preferred by Riley and Young) piano recordings provided the raw material for the four circa-25 minute pieces for this album; post-production involved playing back the tapes in the environs of the Bay Area's Grace Cathedral and re-recording them with its reverberating acoustics.

The resulting Gymnosphere 2LP release came resplendent with De La Sierra's lengthy liner notes, very much in tune with the nascent New Age movement - which makes for comedy gold when reproduced in full on this 2014 reissue.  The music has aged much better, with De La Sierra's gentle pianistic meanderings shimmering in a bath of modest tape delay and all that gorgeous natural reverb.

The first and fourth tracks (likely one long piece split in two) have the most forward momentum, with the melancholy arpeggios bouncing around in a way that made me think of mid-70s Manuel Göttsching more than once.  The middle two are more subdued for the most part, and will appeal to anyone who's ever wondered how Harold Budd might've sounded if he'd plumped for much more long-form piano pieces.  Lovely stuff.
original double-LP cover


Disc 1
Disc 2

3 comments:

  1. Really a gorgeous album. It is available on bandcamp as well.

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  2. "Space Piano", baby. Hellz to the yeah.

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  3. thanks a lot, this is so awesome. always want to find new minimalist stuff

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