In the recent American discovery of traditional Japanese music, instruments like the koto and the shakuhachi have become more popularly utilized. One of the distinguishing features of the koto, a string instrument, is its staccato sound, due to its extremely limited sustain. American instrumentalist Brett Larner conceived a very unique solution to circumvent this limitation. His approach appears on Telemetry Transmission
. By placing gyroscopes on the strings of the instrument, Larner creates a whole new sound, consisting of broad sweeping tones and scratchy pulses. Within this context, he works in a style somewhere between free jazz and noise.
The unpredictable behavior of the gyroscopes on the strings results in a Cage-like impression of chance. Just to confuse the listener further, the second half of his performance on Telemetry Transmission consists of the first half played backwards. It's a really strange CD, suitable for only very distinctive tastes. Though not without its charm, the recording leaves this listener somewhat bewildered. If you're in the mood for something truly new and different, check this one out. Otherwise, stay far away.
Personnel: Brett Larner, koto and gyroscopes.