Cloud Chamber — Live Demo
((Not on label) no#, 1996, MC)
by Peter Thelen, Published 1997-02-01
A purely improvisational ensemble, Cloud Chamber features four musicians who have all made their mark on the new music scene as individuals: Barry Cleveland, on guitar and e-bow, has several innovative albums to his credit; cellist Dan Reiter is a member of the Oakland / East Bay Symphony and has played on numerous releases by other artists, among them Ali Akbar Khan and Trance Mission; Michael Manring is a recognized master of the fretless bass; while Michael Masley is probably best known for the unique bowhammered cymbalom, his modified version of a Hungarian folk instrument related to the hammer dulcimer. Side one of the tape consists of one long improv, rather quiet in most parts, with dreamlike interchanges between processed guitars, cymbalom, and cello — a very delicate and shimmering sound that nearly defies description. Side two features several shorter improvs with an overall higher energy level, often with one member featured in prominence. Joe Venegoni adds percussion on several of these pieces, and as a result the second side tends to pack more power overall. The two sides are remarkably different in approach, yet work well opposite one another. Unlike many improvisational pieces, which tend to be hit or miss, Cloud Chamber seems to be able to keep the wheels turning for the duration. Hopefully these guys will see it fit to produce a CD of this material someday.
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