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Tom Nunn: Burning Palms

AAJ Staff By

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Bay Area musician and inventor Tom Nunn has devoted much of his career to creating novel instruments in order to explore new sonic palettes. Nunn created the first T-Rodimba in 1987. Since then, he's modified this instrument to feature octatonic tuning, consisting of alternating major and minor 2nd intervals. With three sets of octatonic rods, Nunn can cover a range of an octave and a half; additional features of this instrument allow for percussive sounds and various other textures.

Of course, it's one thing to create an instrument and another thing entirely to make music from it. Nunn's ten free improvisations on Burning Palms demonstrate marked technical proficiency and a highly individual musical vision. The recording is generally sparse and deliberate. When Nunn pursues rhythmic or melodic themes, he tends to interlace them in a shifting fabric that emphasizes their transient nature. As a result, the music on Burning Palms exhibits a high level of abstraction and delicacy. While fascinating at the levels of technology, technique, and intellectual development, the disc remains emotionally sterile. Perhaps listeners with more specific interest in Nunn's personal creative vision may find Burning Palms a satisfying listen—but to this listener, the disc is anything but burning.


Track Listing: Time Alone; Mesenteric Field Extraction; Boomtown Shuffle; Fricticious Critters; Nonsomnambulant Digression; Jelly n Jam; Streaming; Explorentials; Khee Say Khong; Contemplation.

Personnel: Tom Nunn, Octatonic T-Rodimba.

Title: Burning Palms | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Garuda Records


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