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Wire and Drum MP3

The October 2006 Instal festival hosted three days of experimental music, and much of it has been uploaded for a broader audience than was able to make it to Glasgow. Among the many MP3s is a 45-minute set that pairs Ellen Fullman and Sean Meehan. Fullman is a master of an instrument of her own devising, a series of long (like, room-length) strings that allow her to produce music whose simplicity is so dense that, counter-intuitively, it becomes opulent: single notes resound as if from a gargantuan sitar, wave forms become almost visible, harmonies take on a macroscopic lushness.

In an inspired bit of programming, she played with Meehan, who focuses on one of the simplest instruments imaginable: a single drum. While percussion may seem antithetical to Fullman’s tone-centric agenda, that’s not the case here. Meehan can coax a wide range of textures and sounds from that drum of his. And given how prone drums and strings are to sympathetic vibrations, as heard here the instruments at times appear to play each other (MP3). More info on the festival at arika.org.uk, on Fullman at ellenfullman.com and on Meeham at earthlink.net/~overturnedbowl.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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