Rod Poole and Sasha Bogdanowitsch
originally appeared at http://www.anaphoria.com/poolecd.html
October 2005 – Los Angeles, California – Mind’s Island features Rod Poole’s just intoned acoustic guitar with the remarkable vocal talents of Sasha Bogdanowitsch whose wordless vocal and beautiful melodic sense work both with, and against, Poole’s more grittier sounding harmonic washes and minimalist guitar playing. The use of “just intonation” or “pure tuning” was paramount to the success of this project. The magnitude of the overtones and resonance in abundance in this tuning allow the musicians to produce sounds simply not possible with instruments in the 12-tone idiom from the last few centuries. Both Poole and Bogdanowitsch are long-time practitioners of just intoned music and Mind’s Island is an advanced example of the melodic and harmonic possibilities that can be created using alternative tuning systems.
All of the recordings on Mind’s Island were created with virtually no prior discussion before the actual taping. Scale(s) were chosen as a basis for improvisation. Melody, harmony, rhythm, dynamics, and duration were spontaneous. Songs were selected democratically by both parties desiring the inclusion of a particular piece. Any feeling or uncertainty by either party would lead to the removal of a piece from the CD’s inclusion.
Justguitar Records was created in the Fall of 2005 as a vehicle for the Los Angeles-based acoustic guitarist Rod Poole to make available new and archival recordings from his sound library. Mind’s Island is the first release for Justguitar Records.
Rod Poole began playing the guitar in 1972. He experimented with various musical idioms and by the mid-80s, his primary interests were acoustic-based free improvisation and finger-picked solo acoustic guitar. A founding member of the Oxford Improvisors’ Cooperative, Poole’s association was between the years 1983-1986. After moving to the United States in 1989, his studies in just intonation began with the world’s foremost theorist on the subject, Ervin Wilson. Poole spent the next several years developing his approach to playing the guitar using just intonation theory. Poole has released a handful of unique and highly praised CDs on the W.I.N., Transparency, and Incus labels – The Dead Adder, December 96, Iasis,and The Acoustic Guitar Trio. He contributed “Kalaidoscopic Sunday” to the Henry Kaiser-curated guitar compilation, 156 Strings, and “The Fire Left to Come” to the SASSAS two-CD set, Sound, a compilation of Los Angeles-based performances curated by Cindy Bernard. Poole was also responsible for engineering the recording of all but three of the performances on Sound. He has performed with Derek Bailey, Mia Masaoka, Joseph Hammer, Kraig Grady, Nels Cline, Donald Miller, Pat Thomas, Tony Bevan, Eugene Chadbourne, and others.
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From reviews of previous Rod Poole releases:
“…this is spellbinding minimalism, a testament to the acoustic guitar’s vitality and volatility. One for the ages.” Dave Segal, Alternative Press, no. 105.
“…a brilliantly realized microtonal work, executed with a skilled improvisor’s awareness of the acoustic guitar’s expressive potential.“ Julian Cowley, The Wire.
“It’s one of the most optimistic modern statements made for an instrument that many feel has reached its limit.” Aaron Burgess, Alternative Press.
“…some of the most singular and enthralling solo guitar music I’ve ever heard.”
Frank van den Elzen, Popwatch.
“…shows an incredible dexterity and inventiveness taking us through the typical highs and lows with a stunning fluidity of technique and tonality…What happens here is at times, truly mesmerizing, offering a level of intricate tuned percussiveness comparable to gamelan.”
Chris Rice, Halana.
Sasha Bogdanowitsch is a composer, vocalist & multi-instrumentalist whose work strives to unite East and West sensibilities by working towards a unique ‘world’ musical language. His compositional output has ranged from writing for chamber ensembles to multitrack tapes with live performance to music for unique ensembles, such as gamelan and early music groups, to live and recorded music for theater, dance and film.
Sasha has a Master of Arts from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the California Institute of the Arts, both where he studied composition and world musics, integrating the two into multi-movement, interdisciplinary performances. He has studied musics from India, Indonesia, Australia, Africa & Turkey; some in their countries of origin and some in the US. He has worked extensively with the SaReel Project, the ‘avant-world’ ensemble that he co-founded, Lou Harrison, Artisan Entertainment, the American Festival of Microtonal Music, New Music Works & Just Strings.
“Flamboyantly uninhibited capturing the rich vocal resonances of barbershop quartet in an equally mystical idiom.”
Kyle Gann, The Village Voice.
” Anthony Tommasini, New York Times.
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