David Kotlowy: Shakuhachi; Ross Bolleter: Ruined Pianos.
Recorded by Rob Castiglione, October 1-3, 2011, at WARPS Studios, Bayswater, West Australia.
Produced by Rob Castiglione, David Kotlowy & Ross Bolleter at New Edition Film and Sound Studios, Fremantle, West Australia, January 20-22 & June 23-24, 2012.
The shakuhachi is an end-blown flute, usually fashioned in a single piece from the root-end of Madake bamboo. The honkyoku repertoire has long been associated with Japanese Zen through its application as a spiritual tool. All sounds produced on the instrument are included in its music.
Three instruments of varying lengths are played on this recording; a Miura 1.8, and two jinashi (unlacquered bore) shakuhachi - a 2.4 and 2.5.
The jinashi instruments were harvested by David and crafted by Okuda Atsuya in Kanto, in 2009. The natural state of the bore produces hushed, complex sounds and timbre.
A piano is said to be Ruined (rather than Neglected or Devastated) when it has been abandoned to all weathers and has become a decaying box of unpredictable dongs, clicks and dedoomps, with not a single note (perhaps excepting D) sounding like one from an even-tempered upright piano. The notes that don’t work - clicks, doks and tonks - are at least as interesting as those that do. Each Ruined Piano is unique with respect to action and tuning (if we can talk of tuning at all). A Ruined Piano has its frame and cabinet more or less intact, (even though the soundboard is cracked wide open, with the blue sky shining through) so that it can be played in the ordinary way.