Saturday, April 18, 2009


Not all instruments are equal in their flexibility. Compare what can do with a piano and finger cymbals. I have a wonderful recording of a solo of the latter by Madjid Khaladj. Here on Tombak

Human beings will always be able to make music out of just about anything.
The relationship with instruments and people works both ways -each dictates what the other will do. Often time a defective one will result in an artist exploring just that defect. Keith Jarretts busted electric piano key on Miles LIVE/EVIL became the whole focus of the song as Jarrett first circles around it then drones on it. I have seen Chris Abrahams do the similar things on a “bad’ piano with finding some unique chord/timbre only available there at that moment.
Still such an instrument offers much choice in variation in sound.
While it is wonderful to see so many new instruments one would hope we can recognize the ones that offer more than one sound or timbre, one that allow the artist somewhere to go and discover beyond the immediate. It needn’t be complex as even set of bowls tuned by water gets one a broad range of expression. Often we might see an individual who no longer uses an instrument in ANY conventional way and I remember Jim French questioning why they just make an instrument that does that to start with and then venture from there. It is a good question.
What we need are instruments we can continue to explore on, not hem us in to a sound or two. Conventional ones have their own history and shouldn't be avoided. In fact how far can we get beyond variations of these great models?

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