The cover of the album is a painting by Rev. Zuio H. Inagaki, entitled “Amida Buddha in the Water” (December 1987).
The original recreation of Shinran’s voice, can be found HERE.
“Horai” is more than just a simple music album. It represents a profound synthesis where spirituality meets electronic music and electronic music becomes spirituality.
The tracks gathered in this album are ancient sacred chants belonging to a tradition of Pure Land Buddhism known as J?do Shinsh?, of which the Horai school comprises an important spiritual lineage. Some of these chants (like the Shoshinge or Junirai) are performed as part of the daily liturgy by devotees of this Buddhist school.
Claus continues on the path he has pursued for over twenty years in bringing together spirituality and music.
Review by John Paraskevopoulos
This album represents an outstanding example of a contemporary adaptation of traditional sacred chants from a little-known Buddhist tradition known as J?do Shinsh?. While it is the largest school of Buddhism in Japan, it has been slow to spread in the West although this situation is now gradually beginning to change.
The pieces in this recording provide a beautiful and fascinating introduction to the heart of this tradition through the liturgical chants that have been the cornerstone of its devotions for centuries. Massimo Claus, who has previously offered us a number of musical gems along similar lines (A Heart Lost in Japan, Staring at the Full Moon and Diamonds of Sutra) has refined the art of doing justice to the traditional forms of these pieces while subtlely enhancing their effect for contemporary audiences through modern musical techniques. This creates a powerful impact and enables the spiritual force of these chants to resonante in us even if the meaning of the words is not always understood. There is something in these compositions that transcends the doctrines themselves while, at the same time, drawing us into their ineffable numinous source.
This work is highly recommended to all those who have an appreciation of Japanese aesthetic forms and who are open to the rich possibilities that can arise when these are crafted into a modern musical context such as is offered here by the creative and talented Massimo Claus. This is an offering that is both contemplative and passionate, reflecting the composer’s relationship to his spiritual home of Japan and his cultural roots in Italy. As such, it constitutes a compelling sythesis of cultural worlds that has the ability to transform and inspire the listener.