The New & Avant-garde Music Store


Dolf Mulder, Vital, no. 641, August 25, 2008

A fascinating work that leads us into the world of microtonality. “Shruti is a Sanskrit word to denote pitch and interval. A word that also means ‘that which is heard, and the smallest intervals of pitch or the spaces between notes’. Ganesh Anandan was born in Bangalore City (south India). He studied Karnatic music before moving to Canada in 1976. Sound designer, composer, musician and instrument maker John Gzowski also studied karnatic music, played oud and guitar in jazz and folk festivals. With his own ensemble he toured Canada with a repertoire of Harry Partch compositions. Gzowski makes his first appearance in the catalogue of Ambiances Magnétiques, but he has many albums out. With very different musical and cultural backgrounds Anandan and Gzowski share their interest for microtonality. They met in 1996 when Gzowski invited Anandan for his micro-tonal Critical Band at The Music Gallery in Toronto, Canada. Gzowski works with a set of self designed micro-tonal guitars and stringed instruments. Anandan works with self built melodic percussion and string instruments based on the Indian Shruti system. To be more precise, on this new cd we hear Anandan playing a self-built electric 12-string shruti stick, plus metallophones, knajira, moorching, tincan and voice. Gzowski uses the Harry Partch guitar, 19_tone guitar, electric Dowel, ukelin and bells. For their Shruti Project they improvise and mix Indian, Indonesian and western musical styles very fluently and intelligently. Each piece opens a new world. Because they play on unknown and self-built instruments we hear new sounds, news colors. Also the music impresses as we hear very unusual tunings, strange textures and rhythms. It is difficult not to become fascinated by these enchanting interventions. Nonetheless not all improvisations worked for me, and left me with something missing. But all in all this is a very interesting meeting of east and west under the parameters of microtonality.

A fascinating work that leads us into the world of microtonality.

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