Music Reviews

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Artist: Bow Gamelan Ensemble
Title: Great Noises That Fill The Air
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Rated: *****
Bow Gamelan Ensemble was an unfortunately little known group formed in 1983 by Richard Wilson with Paul Burwell and Anne Bean which tried to adapt gamelan music to the industrial scene which was establishing in those times. So, they used instruments made by metal or motors or common domestic objects. They aimed to adapt the music to the environment where they performed and they challenged, inspired perhaps by canonical avant-garde, the notion of musical instruments.
So, a track ad "Snappits/Hooter" creates music from the elements that make noise in everyday car traffic while "Horse/Bells/Hubcaps" is hypnotic in its use of metallic sounds and treat percussion as an element of musical language instead of something that beat the time. "Take III" shows how they use wind instruments to achieve sonic nuances uncommon in a period where this kind of music was challenging the listener with physicality while they take this path in a track like "Thundersheets/Sirens/Baths" of impressive sonic mass. However, the next track, "Pyrophones", is a sequence of subtle and meditative low volume tones.
For the quality of the music and the originality of the musical opus, this reissue is a a way to remind than the music scene is filled by great project that never had the spotlight but their opus hasn't aged a bit instead of most group which are on the magazines' cover in this times of retromania. Almost essential.



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