Mike Weis is the percussionist for the two decades-long Chicago ambient-rock band, Zelienople and an accomplished improviser with projects that include Slow Bell Trio, Good Stuff House, Simon Scott/Mike Weis duo and others. Weis has trained with master drummers from ritual music traditions such as West African Ewe music and Korean Shaman and Buddhist music. He has released six solo albums on labels that include Monastral, Type, Barge, Notice, and Granny.
P.M. Tummala is a multi-instrumentalist and producer who explores identity and false memories on two solo albums of Indian Modernist sound collages, Abstractions in Meera and Brindavan Mon Amour. He
has collaborated on recordings and performances with Chloe Yu Nong Lin, Allen Moore, Ashwaty Chennat, Shalaka Kulkarni, Matt Christensen and Zelienople.
A Heron Hidden in the Moon follows a variety of collaborations between P.M. Tummala and Mike Weis that have taken place over their 25-year friendship. Recorded on May 27, 2023, Heron began as a spontaneous session during a social visit with Weis selecting percussion instruments in Tummala’s studio – a chime rod box, metal tongue drum, and tablas – to accompany Tummala’s synthesizers and bowed vibraphone. The completed piece is a second take recording with minimal overdubs that finds the duo improvising a meditative score loosely inspired by the spirit of raga. The title comes from the 8th century Dharma poem ‘Song of the Precious Mirror Samadhi’ by Zen master Dongshan Liangjie. The essence of the teaching has parallels with the spirit of improvised music where the decisive moment cannot be bounded by concepts, preconceived strategies or predictable outcomes.
“We had a limited time to record and limited access to the tools of our typical instrumentation. We worked with what we had available and just dug in without a map. In hindsight, we can hear the accumulation of
our history here and there but it’s really not a piece that could have been made if it were planned.” – Mike Weis