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«strumento di etimo incerto»

strumento di etimo incerto (Instrument of uncertain etymology) is the eighth solo album of Norwegian innovative percussionist Ingar Zach, presenting the ever-continuous research of his favorite percussive instruments – snare drum, timpani and gran cassa – and their vibrations, made by vibrating speakers which create strange sonic universes, consisting of rhythmic patterns but with a huge variety in oscillations. The album was recorded at the anechoic chamber at the University in Oslo and the Norwegian Academy of Music (NMH) in Oslo between March and May 2022.

The Belgian Aspen Edities boutique label always frames all its releases with a poetic saying and adds to strumento di etimo incerto a wise one by Italian writer Italo Calvino: «Non è la voce che comanda la storia: sono le orecchie (It’s not the voice that commands the story: it’s the ears)». Like Calvino, Zach seeks to leave the interpretation and the construction of his tangible, vibrating percussive sounds for the ears of the listener.

Zach’s music proposes music of an unsettling and uncertain nature: sending out impulses, leading to pulses. The skins of the snare drum and the mighty timpani and gran cassa become a vast field of varying sonic landscapes. The subtle yet stubborn vibrating sounds rise and fall apart, often with no familiar patterns, but all have suggestive physical sensations. Zach’s instruments are freed from their common, often bombastic lower ranges and adopt a lighter, sensual and mysterious vibes.

The first piece, the 23-minute «Cicchitaredu» flirts with hypnotic, techno dance beats before it ends with atmospheric, ambient sounds. The shorter «LeFinestre I-IV» contrasts noisy, industrial, or otherworldly pulses and silent segments and patiently constructs a fragmented but highly cinematic dialog between these supposedly alien sonic universes. The third and last piece «Davoli» is a quiet drone where only the very subtle echoes of the vibrations keep resonating, but slowly accumulate into an enigmatic, meditative ritual.

strumento di etimo incerto is performed with masterful and imaginative command. Highly recommended.

Eyal Hareuveni

Ingar Zach (v, vibrating speakers on snare dr, timpani, gran cassa)

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