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instrument(s) used: glassworks "armonica"
...and then, “quiet passion” begins, with a very quiet long, long, held note, with other tiny, almost inaudible notes played in harmony, so quietly, so beautifully – and then suddenly, a powerful, passionate melody appears, out of nowhere, yearning, then oddly – bouncing back and forth between the melody and the backing for a short while – before it then continues on in flute-like glory, truly fulfilling, and then the backing takes a turn, moving through some beautiful chords, with the melody moving beautifully atop it…and then it happens.
that wonderful major key classical moment, and before you realise what’s happened, we are back to our original minor key improv, which goes through another very powerful phase, and then, to a high pitched section, which gradually evolves into another long, long held note – but this one doesn’t stop, it just fades to nothing, with a strangely formulated descending melody on top of it – then, a climb up, and finally – the long, held note, which plays and plays for a long, long time, until it becomes– silence.
These two pieces really surprised me, in that, the actual sound of the instrument inspired me to play something different, outboard, live, living and breathing – and that was a huge part of the experience, but mostly, it was purely introspective, I could just feel the improv going where it would go, and unexpected events just occurred, and I watched and listened, almost as if I were a separate person, watching someone else playing the keys…an uncanny feeling. I was on musical autopilot, and the music itself, seemed almost effortless although in reality, some of it was quite difficult to sustain. It just happened, and I was taken along for the ride – and these are those two rides, takes 1 and 2 of two takes, using the remarkable glass armonica instrument.
It would be hard for me to choose between “quiet grace” and “quiet passion”, they each have moments that I truly love, and, given that I’d never used the instrument before, and that they are literally composed on the spot, it’s remarkable that I ended up with two such strong pieces. I definitely felt emboldened after playing “quiet grace”, so “quiet passion” is possibly the louder, bolder version, while “quiet grace” sticks to the more ambient, the most ambient and reverent and reverberant spaces - the quietest spaces of all.
But both of these tracks communicate something directly to me – that the “armonica” will very, very probably, over time, become my glass instrument of choice. I will absolutely learn about and play with all of the sounds that the Glassworks instrument has to offer, but I could see myself, returning to good old Ben Franklin’s invention, again and again and again – for inspiration, and for the chance to deliver something unique and lovely in terms of new ambient music – another amazing instrument from the good people at Soniccouture – stunning. I am absolutely speechless at how beautiful the “armonica” is – I’ve rarely heard anything so beautiful – so I am really glad that Soniccouture went out on a limb and did this – it was well worth the effort.
Glassworks is a remarkable effort, and Soniccouture have done a remarkable job with it, I can’t wait to delve further into ALL of its sounds and capabilities, and share the results here, with you. What a beauty!
ambient loop guitarist dave stafford performed on stage with robert fripp and the orchestra of crafty guitarists in early
2009, and again with robert fripp and the symphony of crafty guitarists in 2015, and has worked with ambient music and looping for over twenty years. stafford has a rich back catalogue of ambient and loop music, +rock, prog or acoustic crafty guitar music: www.pureambient.com...more