Gromoga

Famously, Bernhard Gál’s past work has been characterized by Asian implications, a connection made stronger in Same Difference. This extensive cycle of compositions makes use of the sonorities of traditional Chinese instruments, their timbres – pure or processed – exploited within prearranged settings, occasionally including metropolitan noises and voices (the arcane reverberations of “UTOO” being a compelling representation of the latter approach). Gál’s method displays the lyricism of a defoliated minimalism while maintaining impressions of inscrutability and, not infrequently, irony. “Of Sound And Time” features three “fake listeners” hidden in the audience, interfering with Taiwan’s Ensemble Chai Found Music Workshop’s rigorous performance via coughs, sneezes and ringing mobiles marked as significant ingredients of the score. Elsewhere, as in “Uh-Jeh-Gal” (for mouth organ, zither and sound projection) a strategic placement of speakers and performers is essential for the diffusion of enticing textural shrouds and poised interpretative gestures. In “Xuan Zhuan”, rubbed wine glasses and bowed crotales generate an uneven adjacency of shrilling pitches. Five short interludes comprising women speaking in Cantonese and Taiwanese complete a record whose cryptic traits conceal an unassuming charm.

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