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Jim Denley has been playing flute since 1969 - after 50 years of a curious love/hate relationship with the instrument this is his first solo flute-only recording. He aims to situate this music within a global outlook, with a pacific perspective. Being from a continent, Australia, where there is no flute tradition, he’s taken cues and elements from flute traditions that still have power and currency — the European flute with it’s purity, brilliance and dexterity, the earthy simplicity of bamboos from Papua New Guinea, the shamanism of Amazonian ritual instruments, the far east refinement of Shakuhachi and Nohkan (he studied with Yamaguchi Goro in the 1980s), the dynamism of the Gaita, the timbral thickness of Kaval and Neh, to name just a few. But above all the flute traditions of the Solomon Islands have been a great inspiration.
The second track on this release, For Celina Rokona honours a great flute player from Ataa, in North East Malaita. She played the Sukute, a curious combination of flute and percussion, and this inspired the second piece on this release. Having said that, he’s an experimentalist, not much interested in reproducing known systems — this isn’t another world music potpourri. He maintains a focus on the sheer magic of sonic materiality. When a jet stream crashes against an edge, the air column vibrates — sound magically springs into existence. On guitars we see the vibrating string, on drums the skin, or with speakers the cardboard cone wobbles — but here whatever the frequency or dynamic we see nothing. This shamanistic ‘coming into the world’ has produced diverse flute traditions for millennia and perhaps this invisible genesis is why, in many cultures, the instrument is associated with the supernatural.