Bowed Metal Music

Peter Warren

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Bowed Metal Music Review

by Fran├žois Couture

On Bowed Metal Music, Peter Warren and Matt Samolis both play what they call steel cellos. This instrument is a piece of curved sheet metal, to which are attached various cymbals on each side and tuned steel rods on top. It is played with a bow, and once it is set into vibration it produces complex harmonic resonances and metallic timbres. The music on this CD is actually one continuous performance (64 minutes long), with indexes added for convenience. The music changes very slowly, as both players activate or enhance various sections of the monster, creating different harmonics. Every change is achieved slowly, the accomplishment being to be able to keep the steel cello in motion for such a long time. Depending on your resistance to high-pitched tones and metallic sounds, you will find this music either fascinating and meditative or unnerving and displeasing. The fact that there are no samplers, meaning that the sounds are not sustained electronically, and only two musicians involved in these rich soundscapes defy common sense. Yet, Bowed Metal Music is a rather static piece. It still holds a few surprises though, like that loud low tone coming out of nowhere in the middle of the third index. The result recalls Paul Panhuysen's gigantic resonating strings documented on Partitas for Long Strings (on XI Records).

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