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January 5th, 2013

cyberinsekt

Andreas Stahel - Wheel Trance I

Have you ever tried to play a flute? As far as I can tell it's nearly impossible. As a schoolboy I used to play bassoon and could do a little bit of clarinet, so all of the reed and double-reed woodwinds were all plausible, but the flute just seemed ridiculous. It didn't matter how I held my lips or the angle at which I blew, I couldn't ever get a single sound out of the bloody thing. I could irritate people for hours by blowing over the top of an empty bottle and if you ever wanted someone for your jug band I'd have been first in the queue. It was just the fucking flute.

So if it's hard enough getting a sound out of two feet of narrow brass tubing, think what it must be like if your flute is 15 feet long and as thick as your arm. That's the task faced by Andreas Stahel, one of the few players of the subcontrabass flute. And it is so much more than just a piece of plumbing.

Wheel Trance I comes from his album Circular Hocket, and it's full of breathy arpeggios and surprisingly nimble articulation. It's only when Stahel gets down to the bottom of his instrument's register that he cuts the rhythmic breathing in favour of some shocking resonance. Part minimalism, part carefully syncopated funk, this is the most amazing solo woodwind this side of Colin Stetson.

Andreas Stahel - Wheel Trance I
(alternate download)