[reviewed by / autor recenzji: Peter Marks || ENG]
One popular notion to dispense with about the Gamelan is that it is NOT a single instrument. The Gamelan is a four part orchestra, nay, symphony which must be heard to be believed. Daniel Menche has been amongst it, recorded it and now brings us his own version of it. I’ve been in the room he was for the genesis of Marriage of Metals and I’m sure he was just as taken back by the stark white walls of the place as I. This space he was in got a somewhat reverential treatment by all the students and staff at Lewis and Clark in the 80s… somehow I doubt much has changed. I only got to see this lethal collection at rest, Menche was permitted to animate them.
And animate them he did. In two deliciously long movements of sound, Daniel Menche brought forth all their voices. I’d love to hear the original, raw takes he came away with to contrast them with what he achieved in his own studio. Through means I cannot begin to fathom, this one man from Portland, Oregon (no, the locals are barely aware of him, trust me) composed an almighty haze of buzzing feedback that is one word: fearsome. I saw him play out years ago at the Madrona Winery and the onlookers (there’s no such thing as a mere audience for this guy’s shows) were being pushed back by the thunderous clouds of sound the wizard synthesized.
That these ancient instruments could be focused with an incredible attention to detail should not surprise you, not with this man. It sounds indistinct at first as the drones and tones establish his framework, but as each of these pieces develop you will hear him slipping in contrasting elements which should not be put together. While others in the proposed “noise” genre are happy to sit in their bedrooms twiddling knobs in between Eve online sessions, Menche went on location and without even being aware of what he was doing broke through to the other side. I know, I know he’s done over twenty five albums already and some of you more jaded types are saying “how’s this one any different?”.
Because he’s operating at the same level (and has done for some time now) of another prolific, yet rarely mentioned artist: Aube. Aube aren’t for everyone, trust me I have the memories of parties gone utterly wrong for reference. The point is this, Menche has the patience and determination to do what so many others would just give up within five minutes of undertaking. He expects the same from his listeners, and like Aube, he will hone in on just one, singular sound source and then explore it to it’s molecular roots. Where it leads is unimportant, the journey is what matters. A lot of time and effort went into this record, I’d have loved to have been there when he had the whole room shaking, rattling the few windows in that place. The din must have been glorious.