Music for Water | Ros Bandt: Medusa

Music for Water
Ros Bandt: Medusa Dreaming
(Neuma Records / August 20, 2021)

“The space is the thing,” Ros Bandt says in a media release. “It’s the key player. Medusa Dreaming is a site-specific water symphony in honor of one of the most beautiful water tanks in the world: heraldic, grand, mythic, epic, scintillating. Each of the eleven movements show an aspect of its personality and history.” 

Ros Bandt - Medusa Dreaming

The recording comes from a 2010 event that took place in the renowned Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarnıcı) beneath Istanbul, Turkey. It forms part of Bandt's lifelong exploration of what might be called sonic archaeology. It continues her journey in creating music that works with the resonance of sacred locations around the world.

Medusa Dreaming celebrates ancient cultures and their understanding of water care. An upside down statue of Medusa supports one of the columns in the cistern. Bandt was also inspired by the 60,000-year-old Australian Aboriginal concept of dreaming, a creative state. The Ancestral Spirits created earth, water, and all of life through dreaming.

According to the notes:

More than a concert of underground music, the composition is a ceremony that merges spatialized electroacoustic sounds, musical notations, and sound design instructions for a skilled improvising ensemble. Some of the pre-recorded sounds include glass tears from the “flagong” glass sound sculpture, Aeolian harps recorded in Lake Mungo (the site of the earliest continuing culture on earth), an ultrasound recording of a Rimu tree growing in New Zealand, and a live hydrophone audiostream of the carp feeding in the waters below the audience during the performance.

The effect is both atmospheric and emotional, a meditation on water that incorporates its moods from the shimmering of droplets to a hard rain. The music draws on various sources, including Middle Eastern/Turkish melodies and rhythms. Instrumental passages blend with spoken word and vocalism, and the sounds of water in many forms.

The music is haunting, and is meant to be absorbed.

The Tears of Yerebatan Palace (feat. Erdem Helvacioglu, Natalia Mann & Izzet Kizil)