The name of The Overtone Ensemble does not lie: this group work with instruments that create shimmering clouds of overtones, carefully controlled through microtonal tuning and tactical combinations. 12 aluminum rods are at the centre of their set-up, which also includes bells and wine glasses: and every sound is completely acoustic too! On Important Records, experts in this kind of thing.
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Exactly what it says on the tin. An ensemble that coaxes out the overtones from everyday or ‘non-musical’ objects. It’s all music really. Overtone (pretty much) means just one of the frequencies that makes up a sound, but I guess the name ‘Sound Group’ doesn’t have the same highbrow air.
So far there have been 8 minutes of high-pitched sinewy sound, but it never seems to get piercing and remains in this shimmering stasis, subtly shifting as they stroke the vibrissa. Stroke the vibrissa?? What..? Well that’s the instrument of course, a set of metal rods not unlike tiny versions of Harry Bertoia’s monster sculptures that are apparently named after ‘feline tactile hair follicles’. Probably a great joke to a Biology professor. It sort of shares similarities with Ellen Fullman and her walls of harmonics conjured from giant strings, just a lot more minimal. So deliciously minimal.
Some singing bowls and wine glasses join the feline tactile hair follicles on the second one (of four), adding a percussive element like the sound from a distant wind chime repair shop. They hang there resonating atonally for a while before letting their friends bow some metals. It continues down this route, building to a glorious clatter on the third track, mysteriously billed as ‘hammered percussion’. Well it’s certainly not a piano is it?
Anyway I’m a sucker for this kind of object resonance, but I reckon it’s got a cavernous place inside everyone’s music-guzzling head. Get some clatter in u.
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