Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery, October 30, 2009

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.

This is a most incredible collaboration, even if it is nearly impossible to describe.