Together, these improvisers construct highly original sound worlds… — Musicworks, Canada
Two inventors of instruments meet and exchange in the atmosphere of Wuppertal, Germany. Hans Reichel, maker of the “daxophone” and Ganesh Anandan, maker of the “Shruti Stick” and the “metallophone”. The “daxophone” is a friction instrument essentially bowed and used percussively among other ways. The “Shruti Stick” is a 12-string electric zither with its strings prepared in various ways. It is bowed, plucked and struck among other things. The “metallophone” is made up of metal bars which are tuned to various types of tunings. It is struck with different types of mallets.
CD (AM 192)
Not in catalogue
This item is not available through our web site. We have catalogued it for information purposes only. You might find more details about this item on the Ambiances Magnétiques website.
- Label: Ambiances Magnétiques
- AM 192 / 2009
- UCC 771028119226
- Total duration: 48:34
- Sympathique case
- 126 mm × 126 mm × 5 mm
- 35 g
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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…
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.
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.
The title of this duo improvisation refers to the source of instruments employed. That is, their inventors wield them. Hans Reichel plays the daxophone, an instrument that is in essence a shaped metal blade locked onto a wooden block, vibrated with a bow or plucked, alternately. Ganesh Anandan, a multi-instrumental percussionist, concentrates on his shruti stick and metallophone. The former is a stringed instrument resembling a dulcimer, but prepared to a scale outlined by Harry Partch. The latter is a gamelan-style system of metal bars played with a hammer. The duo’s interplay is dynamic and sure-footed, quickly finding rhythms and tones that cooperate to great result. Reichel’s daxophone fills in for woodwind phrasing and the human voice equally, with both shrill and diaphragm-rattling waves. Anandan finds resonant tones that unlock paths for melody and rhythm. It is exoticism and interplay at their surprising best.
Every week I hear at least one new CD that blows my mind and makes my life here at DMG better even when things are a bit slow. This week’s treasure is a fabulous duo CD by our old friend Hans Reichel on daxophone only with Ganesh Anandan on something called a Shruti stick and metallaphone. Both of these men are instrument makers and have created some rather unique and fascinating sounds. Mr. Reichel has been playing the daxophone for more than 20 years, bowing & tapping on pieces of wood help by a small vice with a pick-up attached. A Shruti stick is a 12-string electric zither with prepared strings; a metallophone is made up of tuned metal bars which are struck with different types of mallets. The daxophone has a most extraordinary sound, like a disembodied spirit with a twisted voice. On Bird Talk the dax seems to speaking or singing in some subtle alien language while Ganesh taps quietly on the metallaphone which sounds a bit like a metal harp being plucked. The strange vocal quality of the daxophone is something else, like someone singing odd sounds without words which still evoke many feelings. On Imaginary Opera, Ganesh creates an ominous drone by letting just one long note hover suspensefully in the distance. At other times the daxophone sounds like animal trying to speak, trying to twist words into recognizable shapes. All three of these instruments are so distinctive that it is difficult to explain the way they effect us, they exist in a shadow world in between what we think is music and dialogue. There is one solo piece by Ganesh (In the Stillness) so we get to hear just the sound of his his instruments, allowing to hear what exactly he does. The metallopohone sounds a bit like a metal marimba and it often creates haunting melodies while the dax sings along in its own marvelous language. This is a most incredible collaboration, even if it is nearly impossible to describe.
I was pleased to find this disc in the pile Montgomery passed off a few days back. In a break from the wash of limp experimentalism that too often clogs the French-Canadian Ambiances Magnétiques label, they put out this collaboration between the Czech/Canadian Ganesh Anandan (formerly of India) and German Hans Reichel, both of whom invented the instruments played here. Reichel has been around since the 70’s, an under-appreciated exponent of free music akin maybe to Keith Rowe/AMM; for Self Made he’s playing his daxophone - the figured wooden board suspended across another smaller, thicker one that is engaged by friction with the dax (bow it, strike it, pluck it). Anandan is perhaps not so well known, but has done interesting work in Karnatic music and Gamelan which inform the instruments he’s created, particularly the metallophone, a percussive set of metal bars tuned (to my ears) a bit like the saron; he’s also trotting out the shruti stick - a sort of prepared electric 12-string zither. What results are 11 dialogs (plus 1 Anandan solo, track 8), all improvised, and all pretty unsettling due mostly to the similarity of a tortured human voice to the daxophone; I’m totally absorbed.
Hans Reichel! Yes, the inventor of the daxophone, releasing a CD on Ambiances Magnétiques! What a nice surprise! Honestly, I didn’t think the guy was still active. And there he is with a very fine collaboration with percussionist Ganesh Anandan, who sticks to shruti stick and metallophone. Eleven improvised duets of two, three or four minutes duration, plus one ten-minute solo by Anandan. The daxophone has not aged one bit, its tone still eerily mimicking the human voice. Nice interplay between the musicians. Pure delight.
Thursday, October 1, 2009 / New releases