The new Gong Spa EP, ‘Edge’ is now available! Recorded in the amazing copper mines at Alderley Edge, the ambience is completely unique and the energy is sublime (note: a gong bath in the mines is scheduled for Saturday 14th May (now most likely postponed for a later date) – more details as soon as I can…).
The EP is being sold for £7 – please contact Martyn on 07850 955810 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy.
The gongs, made in part of copper themselves, seem to be picking up and expressing the immense history of the mines (they’ve been mined for copper since the Bronze Age). Alderley Edge is well known for its high energy levels, the ley lines, and its association with magic (see the stories of the White Wizard and the white mare and the work of Alan Garner). There is a transcendental stillness in the air that can surely only be possible in these dark depths.
Listening to the tracks, I feel as though the gongs are speaking of the slumber of the great giant spirit who is eternally present in the very rock, the minerals and the water of the mines (if you listen closely you can hear the occasional droplet falling from the rock face to the floor of the cavern), and they seem to be singing about a gathering of sorcerers, a unity, a movement.
I was so lucky to record in the mines and owe a debt of gratitude to Dave from the National Trust and to Bill from Derbyshire Caving Club and to Tina for all her support and special energies. As per the first album, this CD was recorded with Biff from WR Audio. Big thanks to Biff.
The Edge EP has 49 minutes of original material, in the following format:
Track 1: A Giant’s Slumber (in 3 movements)
Track 2: Spirits, Spells and Shadows
Track 3: Elements and Eons
For those who prefer shorter meditations, the end of the CD repeats the first track but split into 3 individual tracks which can be listened to as per the listener’s preference (as such, the CD is 78 minutes long, but appropriately sold at the price of a 49 minute EP).
To read a full length article on the adventure we had recording in the mines, click here
Keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming gong bath in the mines, scheduled for 14th May. More details as soon as I can….
To listen to a track for free, use this free player
Hey…. I’ll be playing gongs for about four hours at this years Chorlton and Whalley Range Big Green Happening on 23rd April (I’ll be in St. Clement’s Church) 🙂 It’s a day to gather and celebrate Green Groups and Businesses who try to make a positive difference to the planet and community. There’ll also be food, yoga, politics, art, youth, transport, fashion, sustainability and more 🙂
Recording gongs in the mines at Alderley Edge. Such a cool thing to do! 🙂 So lucky to have met the people to make it possible! 🙂
The mines are absolutely fantastic. They’re just a five minute walk from the Wizard Inn in an area that inspired Alan Garner when writing The Weirdstone of Brisingamen.
Carrying the gongs through the gorgeous woods to the mines’ entrance was nothing short of exhausting, but even in those few minutes, you started to feel connected to the area, inhaling the essence of the countryside as you went.
My sore shoulders and hips (two days later) are testament to how much of a struggle it was to carry a 38″ symphonic gong for five minutes through winding passages that had no intention of letting me stand up straight. I can only thank the others for helping carry all the other stuff! One of the other items we took along was my Sound Creation Earth gong (made by the fabulous Broder Oetken)… perfect for the mines. Looking back in time a little…. when I first received the earth gong (which I named Serafina, after the witch from Philip Pullman’s ‘Northern Lights Trilogy’) its power struck me head on, and it reminded me of witches casting spells, of snakes rearing up, hissing wildly, of sensuous, slippery beauty of a rather tricky nature, and of shocks of precious minerals coarsing through deep rock as if put there by lightning…… so where better to be playing her than down in the mines 🙂
The mines are so atmospheric, added to by all the tales of expeditions from long ago. The ambience is incredible….. a stillness, simultaneously ancient and present…. a near silence, broken only by the occasional drops of water that fall and collect to form tiny streams through the tunnels (I hope to be able to hear the water on the recordings…). The darkness so complete. Once we reached the intended cavern, we shared a little mini-picnic (Cadbury’s heroes I believe Tina?), trying not to blind each other with the lights from our hard hats. Tina decorated the space with fairy lights and then before we knew it Biff and I were left to do our thing, which began with scoping the place out, deciding where to put the gongs and the mics. There were loads of really cool nooks and crannies, little hidey-holes to climb into and tunnels to explore… (I’m pleased to say that plans are in place to put on some gong baths in the mines and I can only imagine that people will love climbing into these super-special spots). So, as you might expect, before doing anything else I put on my super-funky gong socks (as made for me by Jaz, my sock-knitting partner of gloriousness) and they let in just enough of the cave dirt to give me what I needed while keeping my footsteps quiet and my toes cosy 🙂
Once we’d got ourselves sorted we got straight into it. We’d planned to do a couple of 45 minute takes, but the second I started playing, any such plans were lost in the depths, replaced with an acute sense of my own heart, inspiration prickling my skin, and a silent mind wide open for the experience to go deep beyond measure. Time was a memory and playing was all. Every strike felt like a new idea was born within its momentum, and every pause gave rise to a song of beauty forged in my heart and set free in my outstretched arms, in the tunnels of the mines, in the deep, deep underground. A moment came when the gongs began to quieten and I hadn’t the heart to change their direction, though I knew I’d not been playing long. There was a sense of wonder so strong and a big smile inside that let my plans dissolve, replaced with this creative moment, alive and so sweet as the gong’s tones slipped away into the expanse of everlasting silence. The 45 minute take turned out to be only 12 minutes long, but sometimes 12 minutes is just right 🙂 And the other wonderful thing was that it left time for lots more recording…. and the day continued that way…. lots of recordings, none of them reached 13 minutes…. and we couldn’t have been happier. Biff said that as he listened to the gongs, he wondered what curious creatures might be heading our way, attracted by the sounds. I think we may have been the curious creatures 🙂
Thanks so much to Bill and Tina (from the Caving Club and Pixieland respectively) and to Biff (WR Audio) for making it happen.
If you’re interested in my previous Gong Spa Experiences CD, you can buy one at one of my gong baths or you can digitally download it from Band Camp at this link…. https://gongspa.bandcamp.com/releases
As for the Alderley Edge recordings, they’ll hopefully be available soon 🙂
Ooh, I just got an email from Biff with the recordings ….. I think I’ll have a listen 🙂
Bye for now….. x
Gonging, and being gonged, reminds us to just ‘be’. We often put such energy into ‘becoming’, which is a curious, chase-your-own-tale kind of folly if you ask me.
A very lovely friend of mine said to me the other day that she would like to become more simple……. that is, less complicated. We decided to dedicate the gong session I was about to give her to ‘just being’ which is even more simple than becoming simple! 🙂
After all, isn’t there already quite enough to absorb in this moment? The sun, the clouds, the sounds, the dirt, the flowers, the noisy cars, the breathing, the body, the breeze, the pots that we’re washing right now….. and all of that is changing every single moment! Isn’t it enough to just watch all of that happening, changing, and to watch ourselves in response to it? To see who we are in the face of exhaust fumes, snowdrops, crying babies and someone giving us a cuddle?
And in honestly seeing who we are in this way, do we need to try to become something else? Doesn’t our honesty with ourselves do what needs to be done without us needing to impose some further idea of who we should become on top of it?
ehh, who knows?? …. It was a beautiful moment, and the way I see it, if there’s beauty in it, it’s all good 🙂
Anyway, she suggested that I should put something about just being on my gong website…. so that’s what this was….. something about being, in blog form 🙂
Have a lovely day and kiss an alpaca if you see one ;-x
On Monday I took the Gong Spa experience out to iYoga in Heaton Mersey. The group was lovely…. a very friendly gathering of just less than 20 people, most of whom had never had a gong bath before.
Everyone came with an open mind and a sense of curiosity which made for such a great group atmosphere. We all felt safe and comfortable together, and felt good about our parts in the proceedings, theirs being to lay down, close their eyes and let go.
As they came in, they found a mat, blanket and pillow to snuggle into. Those who felt bold took a front row position, as close to the gongs as possible for the deepest immersion into the sound, while others settled in a few feet further back.
Everyone arrived in time, which was great because the buzzer at the door is noisy 🙂
We had a nice little talk (and a few laughs) about what to expect, what to do (not much on that list!) and then we relaxed into things with a few deep breaths and closed eyes.
At that point the gongs took over. They filled the room with their amazing sounds…. sounds which somehow reach inside us to depths we’d forgotten we had…. sounds which seem to call us to open up and let go of whatever we cling to….. sounds which take us on an infinite variety of inner personal journeys. For my part, I was (as always) awed by the sounds. I used the resulting inspiration, combined with sensitivity of touch, a kind of audio-intuition, and the skills I’ve learnt as a musician to facilitate the many voices of the gongs in coming forth and speaking to everyone. It’s not so much that I tell the gongs what to say, but rather I listen to them and help them say whatever they might be saying that day.
Some of the other instruments used were really enjoyed too (judging by the smiles and/or snores of those participating), especially the bamboo leaves that have a lovely refreshing feel about them.
Once the sound bath was over we took a moment to reflect on our experiences and I talked for minute about the reasons I’ve given certain names to each of the gongs….for example, one is called Serafina, after the witch from Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights Trilogy.
Finally we talked about having another gong bath soon (the next one at iYoga has now been set for 8th Feb 1:30-2:30pm), one or two people bought a copy of my CD which can also be bought here https://gongspa.bandcamp.com/releases, and we talked about my school for gong players which can be seen here http://northernschoolofsoundsmiths.co.uk/gong-soundsmith-practitioner-level-6-months/
So, my thanks go out to everyone who attended and made it a lovely session (not least my partner, Jaz, who came along and helped out).
If anyone would like to know more about what I do and where I do it, feel free to look here www.gongspa.co.uk
Life will no doubt carry on doing it’s thing, but today I’m going to remember to consciously breathe. Please remind me if you see me 🙂 Imagine if you could continue to be conscious of your breathing throughout everything a day brought…. breakfast, meditation, Facebook, phoning a call centre, playing the gongs, buying vegetables, working on your website, cooking, watching a film, reading a book, going to sleep….