Let Dr Lenz's Music Teach
 
   
"I asked the Zen Master."
 
   

 

~Z A Z E N~
Program February 7, 1999
Mercury [Retrograde Planet]
Clear Light [Tantra]
Fertility Rite [Mystery School]
Neptune [Retrograde Planet]
High Priest [Mystery School]
Refugee [Tantra]
Himalayan Sunset [Ecologie]
Rama's Song [Tantra]
Mars [Retrograde Planet]

Rama took all of us to infinite musical worlds. Normally a musician draws on their emotional experience, their particular life situations for inspiration. In working with Rama, Zazen would draw from places never imagined. He believed the best music was created by artists who take the listener to a different world. He loved musicians and composers like Jimi Hendrix, Tangerine Dream, Mozart and Beethoven who he said could do this. Rama saw that Zazen would create new musical worlds too. Talented and accomplished musicians each in their own right, Zazen was none the less fueled every step of the process through sixteen albums by the musical genius and visionary Rama.

RETROGRADE PLANET

"The Album That Would Never End", the original Retrograde Planet used a less complex rock and electronic music influence. Initially Rama talked to the band about the significance of the planets and their symbolism but after the first version of the album was completed, he never spoke of this again and focused completely on the music itself and the direction he wanted it to evolve. The second version fused long, Tantra style themes with intricate mood and tempo changes. Six versions of the album were done in all. Several years and several versions into the project, Rama decided to abandon the longer more complex style and switched to shorter, rock guitar focused songs. In typical fashion, all of those songs were again replaced and 10 new songs were written (the currently available version).



Link to Mystery School CD

MYSTERY SCHOOL

With the album Mystery School, Rama first became fully engaged in the writing, recording and producing of Zazen music. He revealed his idea for a new album during the recording of Atlantis Rising. He planted the seed for the feeling he wanted talking of a new music that would be about contrasts. Rama showed the band what he meant by playing his ideas on the studio piano between takes of Atlantis. He shocked the musicians by first playing simple melodies, soft and child like and then radically changing the mood by playing crashing, colliding chords and rhythms. He spoke of multiple worlds, one hidden behind another. Together the band would reach into these worlds, starting with slow, sweet melodies that would then be "sliced" through by a pyramidal shaft, an Obelisk of energy coming from another world, overpowering with its intensity. The music was to reflect the power and beauty of the Mystery School of ancient Egypt.

TANTRA

Rama loved Beethoven's string quartets. He admired these as some the greatest works ever written although they are less popular than Beethoven's other works. The string quartets are intense, angular and complex. He played these for the musicians as a musical model. He told the band he wanted this kind of energy on Tantra because it was like him - intense and complex. The album Tantra was written in four parts. The inspiration was pulled from past lives in India, China, Tibet and now America. In addition, each song has four parts. Rama sent the band off to power places to meditate and gather together bits and pieces of songs, just enough material for approximately one minute sections. New melodies were then written and these sections were added as if coming from a completely different world. These new parts "sliced" into the original melodies with a different, unrelated theme but still some how remained cohesive with the first melodies. Once the musicians had done this, a third wholly new underlying section was added. Finally, Rama added a fourth section with a fugal motif of intertwining themes being played simultaneously. This was to be a combination of the first melody, the melody from the second section and the third underlying section. This is the way in which Rama built the masterpiece he carried in his mind, putting the band through their paces to get the music out.



Link to Ecologie CD

HIMALAYAN SUNSET/ECOLOGIE

Himalayan Sunset, from the album "Ecologie" was created live on stage. It was during an evening performance in which Rama officially announced the end of his public career as a spiritual teacher. He asked Bodhi to improvise, giving him no special instructions. Bodhi improvised all of the evening's music on the spot. As the evening drew to an end, Rama said good night and good bye to a lot of people he felt he would not be seeing again. "Just play one more song and I will dance" Rama told Bodhi. When they left the stage, he said, "we're going to do a new album starting with the last song you just played. This last song will be the first song of the new album." He said the piece was like a meditation, thus giving the song it's original, working title, "Meditation". Through the magic and power of Rama's consciousness, Bodhi remembered the song just as he played it that night. Himalayan Sunset is this song today, played very much as it was for the first time that magical evening.

Zazen would like to thank you for the opportunity to honor our teacher by this gathering and performance.


A special thanks to Zazen for their sharing of this special Rama's Birthday Handout with us all. Insights such as these are a constant source of inspiration to us all, and thus, we are ever thankful for their sharing of these private moments.

 

 

"He didn't answer.
Or perhaps, he did."