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The Gilgamanians and Maku Sica celebrate new records from distant points on the spectrum of improvisation

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The Gilgamanians and Maku Sica celebrate new records from distant points on the spectrum of improvisation that you have never heard before.


The Gilgamanians and Maku Sica celebrate new records from distant points on the spectrum of improvisation

The Gilgamanians and Maku Sica (formerly Mako Sica) sound profoundly different from each other, but these two local ensembles share a commitment to using improvisation to tap into ideas they would never find any other way. The Gilgamanians are percussionist Michael Zerang and shortwave-radio operator Don Meckley. This is the duo’s first concert, but their history stretches back 40 years. In the early 1980s, they enlisted Daniel Scanlan, who played guitar, violin, and cornet, to found the electroacoustic improv group Liof Munimula. Their concerts were as legendary for the bristling abstraction of their music as they were for their vast and improbable array of equipment—in Meckley’s case that included one-of-a-kind inventions such as the radiotar (a shortwave radio tuned with a hinged guitar neck) and the hydro-kalimba (a row of cords or pipes that dripped water onto “keys” cut into a miked cafeteria tray) as well as a 40-foot antenna that enabled him to tap into a world’s worth of broadcast sounds. Liof Munimula disbanded in 1997, but Meckley and Zerang reunited after learning that Scanlan had died in 2018 in a Florida nursing home. While the Gilgamanians’ current setup is decidedly more portable than that of their earlier ensemble, the fluctuating mixtures of vibrations, textures, and caught-and-released sounds on their debut CD, this year’s Escape From Dark Matter (Pink Palace), are as hallucinatory as anything they did back in the day. 

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Posted by Natalia Chi

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