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Persian Surgery Dervishes, issued initially on the French label Shandar in 1972, features two such concerts for electric organ and reel-to-reel delay, one recorded in Los Angeles on April 18th, 1971, the other in Paris on May 24th, 1972. At the start of that decade, Riley became a dedicated student of the great Hindustani singer Pandit Pran Nath. Looking into North Indian classical tradition, he found correspondences to modal and cyclic ideas that he was already working on. In 1971, Riley started teaching Indian music at Mills College, in Oakland. That experience fed directly into his solo keyboard performances, but other influences were also shaping his music. Personal research into ancient Persian culture and the poetry of Rumi lit up his imagination, while the repetitive swirling of Sufi devotional music from North Africa and jazz, an enduring source of inspiration, reverberate through these performances. The Californian version of Persian Surgery Dervishes starts with low dark tones, dense and brooding like a huddled human figure, deep in introspection. But as the improvisation unfolds Riley's buoyant spirit asserts itself, spiraling out in ecstatic coils. The Parisian concert conveys a different mood, brighter and more open in texture, more relaxed from the outset and breathing with greater freedom as it takes flight.
Persian Surgery Dervishes is a mesmerizing record of a vital stage in Riley's ongoing quest for connection with the universal mind and sublime music. "Music is my spiritual path. It's my way of finding out who I am." --Terry Riley, 1976 Includes insert with liner notes by Julian Cowley; Lacquer cut by Rashad Becker; Layout by Jeroen Wille; Remastered by Equusl; Licensed from FGL Productions; Edition of 1000.
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