Monday, 5 April 2010
Halo Manash and the essence of ritual
Of particular interest for Lord Bassington-Bassington through the years have been the observation of ritual. Be it a Latin mass or Hindu puja, Muslim salaat (prayer) or military tattoo, His Lordship is an endlessly fascinated onlooker. He knows not why. Is it some longing for the transcendent? Or just because he’s a creature of habit and thus feels a sense of security in ritual behaviour?
No matter the cause for this interest, one of the most stimulating rituals His Lordship has been lucky enough to see so far is housed in a release by Finnish outfit Halo Manash.
The release, entitled rASHankaRA, is a stunning gatefold sleeve holding an LP with ambient ritual music and a poster. The real gem, though, is the DVD, which captures a half-hour long ritual held by the two members of Halo Manash and beautifully captured on camera.
Presented as a “ritual in four elements”, rASHankaRA not only explore water, air, fire and earth. Bone, wood, cloth and metal also seem to become elemental forces themselves.
The music, while based on electronics, is supported by acoustic instruments such as ritual bells, Tibetan bone trumpets and singing bowls and that all-time favourite: The human voice.
In rASHankaRA, Halo Manash have created something that not only transcends the borders between performance art, concert, and religious performance, but also breaks down barriers between religious traditions – indeed any barrier between religion and nature, the sacred and profane, the primal and the modern.
In fact, His Lordship strongly suspect that Halo Manash have managed to capture the very essence of ritual. Anyone interested in the spiritual side of the human animal would do well to investigate this work.