Stackpole, Karen with Die Elektrischen – “Machine Shop” – [Dielectric Records]
This is not your hippie uncle’s gong CD! Karen Stackpole is a well rounded percussionist who can play a drumkit, assortments of ethnic instruments and nonce sundries such as a set of keys strung on a wire – pretty much anything that can be hit, but her focus is on gongs. Using an assortment of mallets, bows, and whatever else, even her finger, she deftly calls forth an impressive variety of tones and textures from the big stretched bronze. The result is a work far greater in breadth, depth, and scope than one would expect from a gong-centric title. Die Elektrischen (aka Drucifer) produced an excellent recording and postprocessed it, but the gonging itself impresses the most. The compositions are lush and interesting, rich and evocative, while each piece has unique character. Can be played in a “superimposition or mix”, but stands firmly on its own. Gongophobes are directed to track 6, which has a nice beat thumped out on a monitor-hide drum. Not to be missed.
3WR: Gongwoman strikes again!