98.6 (44k bytes)
Wind in the Grass
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Most of these selections are anchored by the primeval drone of the didgeridoo, and ancient Australian Aborigine instrument rapidly gaining in worldwide popularity. My versions of the didgeridoo are made of bamboo, ranging from four feet to 9½ feet in length. Tracks 3, 9, and 10 feature extrememly long didges. I refer to these as contrabass didgeridoos, since they are an octave lower than normal for the notes produced. I'm not aware of any other recordings of such extremely low didges. The flutes, also of bamboo, range from 12-inch piccolo to fout-foot bass. Percussion accompaniment is simple and deliberately primitivistic.
'Heart Of Grass' features the highest of my Alto flutes, with simple didgeridoo and percussion parts. The rhythmic plinking sound is from a large-keyed kalimba, or "thumb piano", which simultaneously produces deep, subtle bass tones, becoming more noticeable as the track progresses.
In 'Speed Reed' the kalimba is heard again, with didge and a smaller flute.
'Low Duo' pairs a 9½ foot contrabass didgeridoo in D with a 4 foot bass flute.
'Give Five' is in 5/4 time with two didges in a seesaw ostinato; the flute here has an added vibrating membrane, giving a subtle reedy buzz to its tone.
'Celtesque' is built around a percussively-played bass flute pattern and two frame drums. A vaguely Celtic feel?
'Membrain' has a didgeridoo in A, with meditative melody on vibrating-membrane flute.
'Reggae De Andes' is anchored by a repeating bass-flute pattern; also heard are two tuned bamboo "stamping tubes".
Track 8 features a Chinese mouth-organ. This is the only wind instument on the album I did not make.
'An Octave?' has two didgeridoos: an 8½ foot contrass in E and a normal-size E didge an octave higher, with flute and percussion.
'98.6', aka Didgeridoo Or Die. The foundation of this track is an unbroken 17-minute take on an E contrabass didgeridoo - a feat I won't soon repeat. Three progressively higher flutes appear, along with bamboo jew's harp and caveman-style percussion. The title '98.6' refers to the tempo in beats per minute.
Reviewer: Romy Benton