Steve Roach, Michael Stearns and Ron Sunsinger
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The Kiva symbolized the mythic realm from which the first human beings emerged. For visionary composers STEVE ROACH, MICHAEL STEARNS and RON SUNSINGER, Kiva is a realm of pure sound which transforms the everyday world into a conduit for the extraordinary. For over a thousand years, Native Americans of the Southwest have gathered in Kivas, subterranean ceremonial structures marked by a single ladder protruding from the ground. Isolated from ordinary concerns, members of the tribe meet in these cavernous underground circles to sing songs, tell tales, perform secret rituals, and share visions.
To ancient Native Americans the Kiva was a church within the womb of the earth. The Kiva symbolized the mythic underground realm from which the first human beings emerged. The Kiva was a place of remembrance, of healing, of meditation on the origins and destinies of the tribe. For audio-visionary composers STEVE ROACH, MICHAEL STEARNS and RON SUNSINGER, Kiva is a realm of pure sound shaped into a powerful journey that transforms the everyday world into a conduit for the extraordinary.
The project began when Sunsinger, an adopted member of several tribes, was given permission to record the sounds of sacred Indian rites, something practically unheard of in Native American circles. With the blessings of the medicine men, he spent months capturing the authentic ambiences of a traditional peyote ceremony, a South American ayahuasca ritual, and an observance of the central plains Sundance. These source recordings became the basis for the East, South, and West Kivas. The North Kiva evolved out of a series of intense group improvisations in a man-made cave.
Whether it occurs in a cave or the womb-like chamber of an electronic musician's studio, the essence of the Kiva can be realized in many forms. On Kiva, the three artists took these rare field recordings of traditional shamanic practices and incorporated them into vast synthesized landscapes blown over by massive thunderclaps and haunted by primeval instruments, giving the entire album the aura of an extended hallucinogenic experience.
The four "Kivas" lure listeners toward another dimension ... a dense, twilight-colored reverie where primordial secrets materialize, then dissipate in a swirling brew of apparitions and realizations. The brief "Passages" and the final return to "The Center" link the major ceremonies into a sound world populated by ghostly ancestral spirits and supernatural events.