Ping-Pong Anthropology defies categorizations. Two members of the 13th Tribe, German Werner Durand and Norwegian Erik Balke, perform on invented instruments, mostly wind instruments without finger holes, which are actually assemblages of PVC tubes of various lengths. The third musician, Brazilian Silvia Ocougne, provides cyclic rhythmical structures on prepared guitar. Percussionist Pierre Berthet appears as a guest on three tracks. Durand and Balke play games of "call and response" (reproduced in stereo, they do sound like a ping-pong game) over Ocougne's cycles, each one moving at his/her own pace, periodically losing the others and catching up on them. This process creates soft, unreal, slow-evolving textures belonging to both meditative and avant-garde music. Because of its ritualistic patterns and similarities between the Tribe's devices and such autochthonous instruments as the didjeridoo, the Alp horn, or even the pan flute, this music has a distinctive exotic quality. Somewhere between the Andes and Australia probably lies an island where the 13th Tribe's music may be used for the religious ceremonies of a postmodern civilization.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture