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Improv 04

Guzheng Music

David Sait



Sait- guzheng (18-string Chinese zither),
elec. gtr., acoustic gtr., keyboard, strumstick



Too many records that attempt to combine musics from different countries end up cheapening, if not outright trashing, most if not all of the sources they try to fuse. Though of course there’s no such thing as a “pure” culture and I have to say that musical fusing can be one of the best things going, I’ve heard too many train wrecks or, on the other hand, aggressively shallow noodlings. Guzheng Music is more than just the exception to these tendencies. “Heat is Healing” stakes out a new territory neither east nor west and most tracks come off very well indeed. Sait glides this ancient instrument effortlessly into modern territory, or he can get subcontinent Indian, Appalachian or Celtic out of his zither in beguiling ways. There’s nothing forced here and it all comes together in a manner that usually sounds like it was always meant to be just that way. Trust me, that’s very hard to do.


Richard Grooms



Real goods here, folks. “Coastal Traces Tidepools” for grand piano insides and waterphone, in its crystalline strangeness, makes me think of what fractals might sound like if they were physical and danced. “Glacier Track” raises sand deserts, not ice deserts. Van Cleve’s oboe d’amore sounds an elegy for a lost tribal elder with its echoes of Middle Eastern sonorities. It’s a stunner. Van Cleve uses the screaming potentials of the shenai to scary effect on “Shenai Sky” and “Beginnings.” Throughout the record the categories “composed” and “improvised” are thoroughly blurred. The musicians offer droning, keening, frayed but rich music throughout and the result is the stuff of depth, substrata and eternity, even. It’s an involving, deep-listening excursion into the night side of reality.



OO Discs 0029



Richard Grooms