for six layers; two bowed strings, two winds/brass, two percussion (include MIDI if possible), and any other instruments desired, amplification
Monkey Trips is based upon the Tibetan Buddhist metaphor of the six states/realms of being which we constantly recreate and assume to be reality, six “different kinds of projections or dream worlds” (Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche). Each realm is associated with a particular instrument and the piece moves through them successively.
The Heaven Realm (violin), realm of serenity and stasis in which the monkey dwells on her achievements, blocking out everything undesirable; the intrusion of another player draws her out of this solipsistic state and into dialogue.
The Realm of the Jealous Gods (percussion) in which fear of losing the bliss of the first state evokes a need to defend it, and a need to control and compete, but the competitive “other” is no other, it is oneself.
In the Human Realm (cello), realm of passion and intellect, the monkey becomes discriminating – exploring, comparing, reaching out to possess the pleasurable, but discovering that pleasure slips away and craving creates frustrations. However, the idea of unity emerges.
Those frustrations impel a retreat into the Animal Realm (bass clarinet), away from intensity into the habitual, rooting around in a more limited world, clinging stubbornly to the safely familiar, whether painful or comfortable.
Then a desperate feeling of starvation sets in, the Realm of the Hungry Spirits (flutes); visions of open space and of plenty turn into deprivation. A thirsting for what monkey remembers she once had becomes insatiable. Always reaching out but never realizing that in order to drink, you have to first open your throat.
The Hell Realm (percussion): a feeling of being trapped in a small space, of struggling to control this self-created imprisonment. The more she struggles, the more solid grow the walls until rage is exhausted. Then the monkey begins to let go, and suddenly sees that the walls are self-created, the realms are self-created. She breaks through into open space.