Pelt, Part Wild Horses Mane on Both Sides, and Gate came together at Tusk Festival in Newcastle in 2012 to record this mesmerizing gamelan record. “The gamelan has long haunted Western music. Both Debussy and Satie were reportedly enraptured by the Javanese ensemble they heard playing at the Paris Exposition in 1889, and its strange textures and rhythms quietly worked their way into both composers’ subsequent works. Cage’s dreamily clattering prepared piano pieces were indebted to the gamelan. The American minimalism that followed in Cage’s wake is virtually unthinkable without it. In January 1942, two explorer-brothers Sheridan and Bruce Fahnestock, presented the musical fruits of their expedition to the South Seas to an audience at Town Hall in New York City: over 100 sides of gamelan music recorded on acetate discs in eastern Java, Bali, and other islands of the South Pacific. But war had been declared just weeks earlier, and Americans looked to the South Seas with darker intentions. The recordings were forgotten and did not resurface until 1986, when Sheridan’s widow gave them to the Library of Congress. In October 2012, at the Tusk Festival at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK, a summit of sorts took place. Noise emissaries from three continents came together on a Sunday to make music for an hour or so. From the United States came Mike Gangloff, Nathan Bowles, and Patrick Best of the mighty Virginia drone collective Pelt. Representing the United Kingdom were sonic pilgrims Pascal Nichols and Kelly Jayne Jones of Part Wild Horses Mane on Both Sides. And from Oceania came the transcendent New Zealand guitarist Michael Morley of Gate and, of course, the legendary Dead C. This summit proceeded without words. Their chosen means of deliberation was the gamelan: an array of gangsa and saron metallaphones and singing bowls sprawled out on the patchwork oriental rugs; a rig of gongs; the flurry of hammers and mallets; a few dozen onlookers seated cross-legged or just laying prostrate on the floor. And everyone and everything was transported. Hung On Sunday documents this extraordinary performance, when an intercontinental ensemble folded up into a mid-size room in a little corner of England tapped into the music that has long transfixed the world. The results are sublime. The first tentative taps and chimes coalesce over three quarters of an hour into something with the sonic integrity of a holy rite; the artists passing from noisenik offhandedness to breathtaking solemnity. It is a dangerous thing to conjure with alien magicks and musics. But the members of Pelt, Part Wild Horses, and Gate did so with care and reverence. And the music moves us as much as it did when the world was still young.” –Brent S. Sirota; Includes a download code. Released in a run of 300 copies.
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