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Radio ›› Self Made
Self Made
Bird Talk, 3m19s [excerpt]
Track 1 from Self Made
CD: Ambiances Magnétiques (2009) AM 192
1 April 2010
By Vincenzo Giorgio in Wonderous Stories #17 (Italy), April 1, 2010

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Se Ganesh Anandan e Hans Reichel, con Self Made, attraverso sottili intarsi percussionistici ci spingono in un mondo dove il profondo oriente si sposa ad una raffinata propensione improvvisativa (Amphibian, Primate Marathon), Charity Chan (in Somewhere the Sea and Salt) ci guida nel Regno della Dissonanza attraverso l’acustica deformata di un piano preparato ed “oggetti vari”. Ma è ancora il femminile ad ammaliare in Amy Horvey (Interview) dove la trentenne trombettista canadese si cimenta in quattro brani di compositori contemporanei tra cui spicca l’asciutto lirismo di Quattro pezzi per tromba sola, opera del grande Giacinto Scelsi (musicista ligure ultimamente molto rivalutato) e il radicalismo della conclusiva Overture to the Queen of Music Boxes. L’attenzione alla “classica contemporanea” è mantenuta alta anche da Quasar, che con Miroir des vents ci regalano un vivido affresco fiatistico dove la solitudine del vento (leggi i sax di Marie-Chantal Leclair, Mathieu Leclair, André Leroux e Jean-Marc Bouchard) viene declinata attraverso otto composizioni che trovano ne Le chant de l’inaudible di Jean-François Laporte la sublimazione ultima.

Con Rainer Wiens (Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors) la faccenda si fa davvero intrigante: il percussionista (sic) di origini tedesche organizza undici performances in forma di solo e duo dove si alternano il flauto di Jean Derome, i violini di Malcolm Goldstein e Joshua Zubot nonché il sax di Frank Lozano. Il risultato - profondo e suggestivo - trova la sua sublimazione estrema nella traccia omonima: oltre dieci minuti splendidamente giocati dal duo Derome-Zubot, attraverso un zigzagare materico nel silenzio incombente…

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1 March 2010
By Stuart Broomer in Musicworks #106 (Canada), March 1, 2010

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1 March 2010
By Pierre Durr in Revue & Corrigée #83 (France), March 1, 2010

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3 February 2010
By Massimo Ricci in The Squid’s Ear (USA), February 3, 2010

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“To put it concisely, a winner.”

Even if the name of Ganesh Anandan didn’t ring any bell while approaching this shared outing, everything released by Hans Reichel over the course of a lengthy creative career is deemed as consistently rewarding by this writer. An underappreciated experimental guitarist Reichel used to express himself via monstrous stringed hybrids, generating sparkling harmonics and uncommon chords through customized circuits and fingerboards, releasing masterpieces such as Bonobo Beach and The Death Of The Rare Bird Ymir. In recent years Reichel has concentrated on the Daxophone, an amazing invention exploiting the vibrational capacities of oddly shaped samples of selected exotic woods rubbed with a violin bow. Reichel and René Lussier are amongst the few Daxophone virtuosos existing on earth, the latter’s Le Corps De L’Ouvrage probably the greatest (…the lone?) album of progressive music (meant in the strictest acceptation) featuring this incomparable sonic tool.

But Anandan, too, is the engenderer of an uncharacteristic machine: the 12-string Shruti Box, an electric zither that can be “bowed, plucked and struck among other things”, whose timbre is extremely rich and suggestive (especially when the strings are left to resonate for long, allowing the upper partials to flutter around in magnificent combinations). He also plays the Metallophone, a nearly “regular” mallet instrument that, in conjunction with the former, allows this artist to sound like a mini gamelan orchestra one moment, a highly sophisticated improviser the next.

The twelve tracks comprised by Self Made — eleven duos and an extensive solo by the percussionist — are both remarkably ingenious and a symbol of integration, in every sense. Though the overall sonority is always perceptibly structured and lean as a well-trained body without an ounce of fat, the extemporaneous phenomena generated by the duo are many, all completely welcome. The Daxophone is Phil Minton’s closest relative in terms of vocal outrageousness, its incredible tones acquiring the semblance of a native Indian flute, a broken viola, a drunken horse’s whinny, an angry monkey, a hoarse fowl, an old man’s gargle. Reichel is in total command, exciting the wood’s cells with unarguable dexterity and formidable sensibility, squeezing out of those little sculptures the distillate of a biological responsiveness that ultimately belongs to the trees from which they originate. Anandan represents an ideal partner, intersecting the German’s anarchic dissertations with the composure of a sage, eliciting iridescent auras, subdued clusters and freckled counterpoints, interweaving garlands of quietly inscrutable radiant resonance, an example of restraint and soberness entailing an irreprehensible logic.

A gorgeous record that reconciles with the concept of listening with the mind delivered by prejudices and formats, at the same time tickling our own desire of picking an instrument — whatever it is — to start searching for new paths to tread. Procure yourselves an authentic exemplar of such a nugget, not forgetting a visit to Reichel’s humorously interactive website (www.daxo.de) to learn about his inimitability in anything he’s involved in. Needless to say, I’m equally interested in hearing more from Anandan after this. To put it concisely, a winner.

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1 January 2010
By Henryk Palczewski in Informator “Ars” 2 #50 (Poland), January 1, 2010

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7 December 2009
By Dolf Mulder in Vital #708 (Netherlands), December 7, 2009

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Three new releases from Ambiances Magnétiques, all of them with a German connection. We met guitarist Rainer Wiens, from Germany but now living in Montréal, earlier on trio recordings with Malcom Goldstein and John Heward, and another one with Ganesh Anandan and Malcolm Goldstein. Shadow of Forgotten Ancestors is in fact his first solo album where we learn more about Wiens as a composer, and as a player of the kalimba. Over the years Wiens composed several pieces that we now find on this CD. The title track of this CD, Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, as well as title The Taste Pomegranate indicate that filmmaker Sergei Paradjanov was a special source for inspiration for Wiens. The CD opens with The Valley of Green Ghosts with Wiens solo on kalimba, creating inevitably an african climate. Most pieces however are duets that have not Wiens, but Jean Derome (flute), Malcolm Goldstein (violin), Frank Lozano (saxophone), Jean René (viola) and Joshua Zubot (violin) as performers. In the title track flute and violin play - almost and almost continuously - uni sono. Shh… Whisper to the Wind is a delicate between violin and breathing sounds. Bird of Jade with Derome on flute, and If a Bird sings in the Forest (sax), as well as other pieces seem to be inspired on the whistling of birds. All pieces are mature and thoughtfully composed moving between traditional (african) musical forms and new composed music. And all players play very inspired and dedicated. The result is a very strong and convincing album, where everything is on its place.

The cover of Self Made has a nice photo of Hans Reichel and Ganesh Anandan portrayed as two proud ‘self made’ men. Even more the title refers to both artists as designers and builders of their instruments. Hans Reichel, guitarist from origin, is known for his daxophone. Anandan built the shruti stick and a metallophone. The ‘daxophone’ is a single wooden blade fixed in a block containing a contact microphone, which is played mostly with a bow. Reichel draws many colourful sounds from this instrument - sometimes sounding like birdcalls, animal sounds, flutes, human voice and breath, etc. Very impressive and absolutely an amazing instrument. The shruti stick is a 12-string cither. Anandan presented it on another duo-cd, Shruti Project, which he worked with John Gzowski who played self-designed micro_tonal guitars. For Self Made Reichel and Anandan concentrate on creating sounds and textures. Structure is not their main interest. Although Anandan often lays down complex rhythmic patterns, and Reichel plays his solos over it, it is not always clear where they want to go. They create nice atmospheres, and specially the daxophone sounds very direct and very near to the human (language of) body and voice. Several of their improvisations are very worthwhile like Drunkeness. It is very subtile, virtuoso and soulful. Others however don’t bring me anywhere. The playing of Anandan I enjoyed most in the solo piece In the Stillness that develops like an indonesian gamelan-like piece of music. Pure beauty! For this and other qualities these improvisations deserve your attention.

Live • 33 • 45 • 78 by Berlin-based Ignaz Schick and Martin Tétreault is the most far out of these three CDs. Two avant garde turntable-masters who collaborate since 2004. “Our music is made with raw materials that have nothing to do with the passive uses of the turntable. We quickly and sharply use our set of home-made sonic tools to produce dialogues of varying speed, volume level, and duration. Recorded live, our music offers lively exchanges where tone arms are playing a sonic sport! These exchanges will get you ears moving…” Within the parameters of their musical games they make truly fascinating music using concrete sounds only. Records are abandoned, instead they use various objects and manipulations to produce their micro soundworld. The CD contains two series of seven pieces listening to poetic names like 1-p45 un and cave12part1.The music itself has more effect on my phantasy. It sounds like the recording of some never-heard-of primitive life-form deep down in the ocean or earth.

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