Ampanman
Wood Wind Tide

[KwanYin Records, www.subjam.org]

Sound artist Richard Scott comments in the liner notes to his latest duo disc with Clive Bell, "I must confess that the sound of this simple Japanese bamboo flute has always frightened and bewildered me a little. It seems at once the most human and most inhuman of instruments. The sound can be so exquisite, so sheer and physical yet it is also extremely dark, ascetic and un-bodied: a series of departures which travel and never return. It can sound so lonely and bereft that I sometimes find it unbearable to hear it at all. At times the pitch or melody of the instrument seems almost incidental. What strikes me more clearly is the envelope and the texture of breath: wind exciting the emptiness of wood into voice. And the voice is so evocative of the natural music of wind blowing through forests and canyons, and moreover of the human loneliness these sounds innately seem to represent, as to be quite unnerving. Its denial of gravity can be such that I crave something to give it foreground and background, something to pull it back towards the earth." The wonder of this record lies in the interaction between Clive Bell's shakuhachi playing and the processing conducted by Richard Scott. It's the finer details that make it all the more worthwhile. Bell's mastery of the instrument is prevalent throughout. His controlled and subdued breaths often sound like microcosmic trickles of wind that is having difficulty passing through a cracked wall. In turn, Scott processes the sounds through a series of filters, processors, Midi controller and a mutator. Though sometimes the shakuhachi sounds like its real self, much of the time, it sounds alien - horrifyingly like a wind coming from another world. All manipulations were done in real time, allowing a true communal language to develop. Subtle, haunting and inviting at every turn, "Wood Wind Tide" is a duo record from two musicians who have a complete understanding of the complexities of creative communication.

- Tom Sekowski


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+ Sun Ra & The Omniverse Jet Set Arkestra - The Complete Detroit Jazz Center Residency. December 26, 1980 - January 1, 1981
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