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CD Review: Michael McInerney

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Professional Member


Joined: 16 Aug 2011
Posts: 23
Localisation: London UK

PostPosted: 2013-02-19, 15:35    Post subject: CD Review: Michael McInerney Reply with quote

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Michael McInerney
From The Devil’s Mountain: Listening For Lost Voices (2012)
for shakuhachi and Morse code transmissions
Michael McInerney is one of very few shakuhachi players pushing the boat out onto the choppy waters of live electronics. An example is his The Extended Shakuhachi, (which you can hear at ), a set of pieces with the fragile bamboo sound surviving within an unstable environment, processing his flute via “accelerometers and pressure sensors”. This is a case of ‘dirty’ electronics, a dangerous soundworld, with the shakuhachi cast as a kind of Daniel entering the lions’ den.
Listening For Lost Voices is a much calmer, more spacious music. This time the agenda is not electronic processing but a duet for shakuhachi and Morse code. The chosen space is crucial: a spherical dome within the disused Cold War listening station of Teufelsberg (‘devil’s mountain’). This is a squatted ghost village in Berlin, officially opened up for two days in autumn 2012 for an arts festival.
McInerney plays in this resonant dome, conjuring an audio miasma of shifting echoes. The hypnotic sound dimly recalls Paul Horn’s flute recording from inside the Taj Mahal (the first LP I bought with my own money, if I recall).
Into this drifts the sound of Morse code, like a ship on the horizon, and drifts away again. Fierce blasts of noise erupt (presumably this is McInerney’s breathy muraiki), alternating with a haunted calm.
McInerney’s engagement with the Morse code, and with this extraordinary building, is thick with resonances – the swirling audio echoes are paralleled by the hovering memories of Cold War history and obsolete modes of government surveillance. A truly haunted performance.
Copies available from the artist at
Clive Bell
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Rick Riekert


Joined: 22 Mar 2011
Posts: 85
Localisation: Long Island, NY

PostPosted: 2013-02-19, 19:43    Post subject: CD Review: Michael McInerney Reply with quote

Clive, that’s the best damn review of music for shakuhachi and Morse code I’ve ever read.
Mastery does not lay in the mastery of technique, but in penetrating the heart of the music. However, he who has not mastered the technique will not penetrate the heart of the music.
~ Hisamatsu Fûyô
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