Exposé Online banner

Tania Chen, Danielle DeGruttola, Henry Kaiser, Soo-Yeon Lyuh, William Winant — Megasonic Chapel
((Not on label) no cat #, 2015, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2015-05-01

Megasonic Chapel Cover artWhile one probably won’t find this on any top 100 charts in this or any other universe, Megasonic Chapel is a single 80-minute improvisation, very subtle, shimmering and beautiful, never harsh or abrasive, in fact at times one might even forget that it’s on it gets so quiet, yet it functions just fine as background music for the listener who doesn’t want to focus on it, yet if one chooses to focus there are a lot of exciting and emotional moments, with subtle evolutionary transitions that link one section to the next. There are no indexes, this is one long track, though some indexing might have helped the listener find certain parts a bit easier. Though guitarist Henry Kaiser is the most recognizable name here – and I’m sure he had a major hand in making this recording happen – every player gets many chances to shine throughout, and at any given moment some subset of players is at the forefront, with others supporting. Kaiser is primarily playing a 13-string acoustic harp guitar and a six string acoustic bass, but at several junctures he’s playing a variety of electrics as well, including a wonderful distorted and effected slide freakout at around the 45-minute mark. Tania Chen is a pianist who contributes subtly but very importantly throughout the entire improv, providing shimmering melodic fragments, while cellist Danielle DeGruttola wields a formidable bottom end to the sonic spectrum. Percussionist Willy Winant is probably the least heard among all the players here, his contributions tend to be very subtle accents that tend to hide behind the other instrumentalists, although there are some exceptions. By far the most interesting element is the Korean traditional haegeum, played by Soo-Yeon Lyuh – two silk strings over a hollow wooden soundbox and mostly played with a bow, similar in some ways to the Chinese ehru. Though for most of the duration it’s residing low in the mix, there are several points (including around the 60 minute mark) where it’s featured very prominently, and some others where Lyuh and DeGruttola both lead with their bowed strings together. All taken, Megasonic Chapel is something that must be heard to be appreciated; I can write about it for hours, but will be no closer to describing what the listener will hear – there’s really nothing else one can compare it to.

Filed under: New releases, 2015 releases

Related artist(s): Henry Kaiser

Latest news

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more

2019-03-03
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

White Willow - Ignis Fatuus – This one was worth the wait! This new band from Norway plays a rich blend of folk and symphonic rock, sprinkled with a generous helping of classical influence. Fronted by the gorgeous female voice of...  (1995) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues