Amorphon Rec. Talugung : Anura (CAN,2010)****
Talugung is the musical project from Ryan Waldron who made a lot of self-build instruments, but there's little information about them. Never the less this is a well presented collection with a focus on experimental musical instruments explorations and their sound worlds. Each track digs in a different spectrum, with some comparable still different returning starting points, from turning-turmoil bowls to thumb piano explorations with rather mechanical or organ-like settings. Often, each layer of rhythms with melodic-sonic variations is added in such a way we hear a natural, irregular rhythmic variation in sounds with its own overtones deliberately built in, worlds interesting to experience, like environments on its own with its own life and its own interactive sound worlds, with that bit of randomness it has something adventurous and quirky/odd, still certain variations could evoke ethnic world music variations somewhere even though I assume these associations are not made deliberately or too much sought. What I like very much about the presentation of these pieces into miniatures of worlds is that they are like the presentation of experimental musical instruments at its best by limiting its expression by showing only its full range of its found sonic world with its own space and environment, with its own laws of interaction and its own life of rhythmical-melodic and sound interactive variations, a minimalism which suits these presentations best.
The sounds of the instruments on the first track, “Creekside Corroded Iron band”, have something of the daxophones of Hans Reichel, with these funny and quirky duck-like sounds, with different sorts of squeaking chair-or bed-like thumb pianos, sound as if these toys are having a happy congress : rhythmically and playfully, fun with odd sounds and with some flute-like accents.
The second track, “Manifest Futures” sounds more like rubbing or turning wheel bowls with tiny balls in it, a complexity of disharmonies played like a new organ with new sounds, again with some turmoil effects and a few trumpet-alike accents.
“Rain on giant lenses” more sounds like steelpans played in the vein of an automatic mechanical musical instrument. Also here what is nice are the overtones and its variety in melody like an arrangement within a rhythm : colourful patterns with tone varieties. Besides this arranged effect, the music keeps something irrational and arythmic in its patterns and variations. In the case of this track, this theme here sounds a bit eastern.
“Undersea Shadow Enemy” sounds again more organ-pipes like, again with an ethnic flavour. There are strange overlaps of silences, as if the melodic-rhythmical themes are multi-layered with slightly irregular loops. “Low Temperatures” used more watery sounds of thumpiano's.
“Painted Bowls” with cowbells-alike sounds, in circular rhythms, sound like variations of sounds produced by turning wheel bowls with objects in it.
“Nervous system” is somewhat African flavoured in its theme, with a mixed effect of a thumbpiano with a flute organ. It reminds me a bit of some pygmy tune I heard once played on nose flute with voice if I remember well. It has an attractive mechanical rhythm which again sounds like a found conditional musical theme with its own interactive life.
"Currents” is the most iron-based track, with peeping tones mixed with rubbed iron pipes and of other forms, forming a flute like drone with some extra tones of rubbing, peeping, and a bit more physical touching of the material. Because the material is not used in a percussive way here the tension is very different. The tones doesn't come very much to the fore, and this forms some restrained expression, ending the track with a few bowed peeing variations.
“Zinc Drop Multiplication” is again a totally different sonic world, sounding like a series of fast fingering percussion done and recorded inside a tiny resonant box. Also this creates its own space, to be described as the discovery of the beauty of rain drops and a deliberate remake of this idea inside a much smaller space, discovering with it also its specific reflection of the object limiting its expression in another beautiful and interesting to discover way.
“Rolling Shoes” sound a bit like a collection brought together of small whistling flutes, with the metal objects quality of them coming through because the sounds melt together like a drone, like a bigger surface of metal nature.
Last track, “Falling Sawdust” much more clearly is made from playing on thumb pianos, in a more earthly recognisable form. The variety herein ranges from deep chimes to the pitches of a toy piano. A joyful track.
Well compiled. Very suitable for directed visualisations of different spaces and acoustic worlds.
Ryan Waldron is also member of indie drone-psych band The Riderless.
According to the label's introduction which I only read afterwards Ryan Waldron based himself on the poly-rhythms of frog-song.
For another Thumb Piano-like instrument exploration you can check also Mount Elephant