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Philip Gelb: Between/waves

AAJ Staff By

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Shakuhachi player Philip Gelb seems to understand that silence can carry as much weight as sound. His new record, between/waves, celebrates this fact. The sounds on this record, made by Gelb and colleagues, explore the dynamics of breathing in the setting of free improvisation.

On "The Space Between," Gelb and quartet exchange bird-like noises, twisting and re-interpreting the age-old standard of call-and-response. On "Waves," a thickly textured electronic field becomes the backdrop for Gelb's plaintive cries. Whirring and buzzing noises pass through the stereo field while Gelb builds tension with long shakuhachi tones. Live electronics collaborator Chris Brown incorporates Gelb's eerie flute-like noises into the ever-changing soundscape using reverb and delay, adding an intriguing sense of time dilation. This isn't toe-tapping music, so be warned. But between/waves sounds unlike anything you've ever heard: Gelb's distinctive approach brings East and West together in the melting pot of improvisation.


Track Listing: The Space Between; Waves.

Personnel: Philip Gelb: shakuhachi; Pauline Oliveros: accordion, conch; Jon Raskin: saxes; Dana Reason: piano; Chris Brown: electronics.

Title: Between/Waves | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Sparkling Beatnik Records


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