Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Strings & Wings
Genres: Country, Folk, World Music, Pop
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Improvised music that is calm, new agey, pleasant sounding,
J. Ross | Roseburg, OR USA | 07/26/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"On Strings and Wings, Zenkl features mandolin duets with other acoustic instrumentalists. Sessions were completed with some stellar, accomplished, renowned players. Besides standard bluegrass instruments, there are a lot of unusual world instruments such as koto, oud, sitar, bouzouki, balalaika, charango, Paraguayan harp, ukelele, hurdy-gurdy, mountain dulcimer and others.
For each duet, Radim looked for a virtuoso player that has their own individualized style. All the music is completely free and spontaneous improvisation. They went into the recording studio, one started playing and the other joined in. The goal was clearly to capture a soulful exchange of two musicians at that moment in time. It was not something that would have worked if it had been planned. Sessions with Tony Rice (guitar), Bela Fleck (banjo), Jerry Douglas (dobro), David Grisman (mandola), Bryan Bowers (autoharp), David Balakrishnan (violin), Rob Wasserman (bass) and many others were included. I believe that this project was released on Shanachie records in spring, 1996 as the first of a multi-album contract that Radim had with that label.
Each duet tried to create something beautiful. Of course, some may appear more aurally pleasing than others, but I just appreciate the great creativity and innovation that went into making this album. The music is calm, new agey, pleasant sounding, not too dissonant. I noticed some tendency for players to fall into certain rhythmic patterns that provided some sense of rhythmic certainty within the realm of the more melodic uncertainty. To some extent, a listener might find such uncertainty in the music a bit disconcerting just because one can't easily predict where each piece is headed. Also, I sensed that some of the players jamming with Radim seemed more open-minded and comfy with free-form improvisation than others featured.
Radim once told me that the idea of a duets album was intriguing, but there are already many such albums of standard or original tunes. He liked this concept of free improvisation, and it resulted in some nice communication between the players, unexpected moods, feelings and bringing out the true essence of each player. (Joe Ross, Roseburg, OR.)"