Armchair Traveller

The Perfect Record for the Armchair Traveller

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This is the first album by Armchair Traveller, a Berlin quartet. The best-known musician here is guitarist Silvia Ocougne, formerly of 13th Tribe. Her followers will have no problem relating to The Perfect Record for the Armchair Traveller. In addition to her typical use of every possible size, shape, and preparation of acoustic guitars, one also finds in the music her usual playfulness, charm, sense of exploration, and warped ethnomusicological approach. In his liner notes, Matthias Osterwold puts down the big music corporations' vision of world music to propose this instead: music of a new world where tradition and invention meet. In this post-postmodern world, the musicians of Armchair Traveller pick up the shards of folk music (elements of African tribal drumming, South-American dance songs, and East-European and Asian music) and integrate them to their ingenuity -- modified traditional forms performed on modified instruments. Werner Durand plays PVC tubes equipped with handmade resonators and saxophone, clarinet, and ney mouthpieces. Sebastian Hilken mainly performs on a cello with various objects inserted between/under its strings. But Hella Von Ploetz steals the session with her "glassharp": a set of glass rods rubbed with water, its resonator a metal sheet that can be bowed. It sounds like an orchestra of mutated foghorns. Even though they produce the sounds that make the music, these instruments are not the music itself. They serve a greater purpose, a set of entertaining, friendly pieces that strongly evokes the world of Frank Pahl with a different palette. Recommended.

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