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September 25, 2016
Infinite Number of sounds Mike Hovancsek : Turbulent Calm (US/..,rec.2010, 2011)***'
This is the second release of Mike Hovancsek I have heard. It shows the simple enjoyment of improvisation on somewhat more exotic-sounding instruments in combinations that aren’t heard before so easily, like the zither/koto-like instruments, like the kayagum, then also Indian tabla or frame drum, native American flute, and violin and Indian singing and bells. Mostly the improvisations are slightly melodic with some spontaneous harmonies and a bit of progression, the result is safe and simple like warm ups into a combined new world music mood. The last track has a trumpet improvisation. One short improvisation is more free.
It features guest appearances by Joe Culley (tabla, ragini), Hee-sun Kim (kayagum), Samuel Salsbury (violin), Jim Cole (harmonic singing), River Guerguerian (frame drum), Margot Milcetich (vocals), and John Kuegeler (trumpet).
Standing Rock Cultural Arts Rec. Mike Hovancsek : Temporal Angels (US,2010)***'
This album is the result of some improvisational sessions between musicians of ethnomusicological origin and comparable interests. I think the goal has been to create a common sense of improvisation with differently tuned instruments and different sounds. This is like a tuning in, into these different tuning systems, harmonies and balances between instruments with a certain freedom left for improvisations with and within all these modes and sounds. Like a form of mediation with a stepping in improvisation, this is before any compositional or melodic interference or development of architectural ideas, a next step of creative dis-balance, dialogue, conflict, metamorphosis or new combinations or invention takes place. The improvisations take place between eastern modes with a westernised vision. Just the combinations of instruments is unusual, and also, the common grounds mingle. We hear for instance Vietnamese tunings mixed with western. On the longer track “Pralyas” two parts occur of which the second part of crumhorn with gu zheng becomes challenging on a sonic voice-seeking like level. On “Somniloguy” the Unitarian Universalist Choir (led by Hal Walker) creates a choir with voice as a mixture of a drone with a few common tones with changes of intonation and with some voices coming through, mixed with a Third Ear Band-alike oboe and koto improvisations. Most of the tracks are neither world music neither new music or folk, only the last track with middle eastern clarinets (shahnai), didgeridoo, bells and gongs, through its simple conga percussion sounds like a new world music work shop of improvisation, reveal a bit too much of its unprepared state. The strength lies in the area that keeps a state of tuning into the world, a common sense, at the same time this first step is also its limitation. As a loosely conceptual musical foundation in a moody sense this surely is successful.
Homepages of the diverse cooperators :
* Dr Phong Nguyen : http://phong-nguyen.com/
* Halim El-Dabh : http://www.halimeldabh.com/
* for David Badagnani see http://www.melodyofchina.org/01artists/nonchn.html