Friday, March 21, 2008

[HA-5] Talugung: Under Humid Light

The word "talugung" comes from the Ivatan language spoken by the people of the Batanes islands in the Philippines. Accordingly, the music of Talugung, the solo project of Ryan Waldron from Canada (also known from the group The Riderless), is a kind of imaginary world music evoking and blendind together images of far-away lands. "Under Humid Light", recorded in 2007 and mostly played on self-made instruments, puts together elements of Asian, African and western musics and the picture they form is a very beautiful one, indeed. Following on from Talugung's fabulous debut album "Flooded Fields", released on Foxglove last year, "Under Humid Light" is a fine example of Waldron's singular musical expression.

1. Wobble Crackle
2. Vliuug
3. Gobi
4. The Wonders of Weather
5. Glazed Greys
6. Folded
7. Apparition Comet
8. Arrows
9. Lumber Moan
10. Slope Fen
11. Peeled and Crushed

What they say

"Talugung is the alias of Canadian musician Ryan Waldron, who makes his own instruments and clearly listens to a lot of African and Asian traditional music (his alias is borrowed from a language spoken on the Batanes Islands of the Philippines). In fact Under Humid Light is a kind of imagined world music, tapping into a fictional musical tradition that doesn't strictly exist, but amalgamates from different sources. The vexed ethics of Sun City Girls' use of field recordings made in Southeast Asian marketplaces immediately come to mind, but Talugung is closer in spirit to Jon Hassell's Fourth World projects, or the invented parallel worlds of Jorge Luis Borges - there is less in the way of theft and more of tribute. A sense of anachronism haunts Under Humid Light (why fake a tradition?) and also of magpie flightiness, as Waldron skips from instrument to instrument with each track. But it works nonetheless. Like Harry Partch, Waldron allows his work to be shaped according to the peculiarities of his homemade instruments. Tracks like 'Wobble Crackle' and 'Arrows' are junkyard jumbles of likembe-like sounds. 'Vliuug' is all rubbery, papery bass strings, challenging you to visualise exactly what kind of instrument Waldron has built." (Sam Davies/The Wire)

"I liked Canadian musician and instrument-builder Ryan Waldron’s Foxglove release under the Talugung moniker a lot but I think Under Humid Light might be even better. This is an exciting musical journey that goes from abstract, slightly folk-tinged drones to exotic string plucking and Sun City Girls-like field recordings from all over the globe. It’s a downcast sound affair overflowed with organic beauty that covers a lot of ground and change direction from track to track, but the overall result is simply pure genius. What we need now is some enterprising label to see the potential of this fellow and let him record and build weird instruments for the rest of his (and mine) life." (Mats Gustaffson/The Broken Face)

"In releasing their album "Under Humid Light," Talugung present the listener with eleven ethnic soundscapes, each track focusing on a different instrument or set of instruments: chimes, gongs (I think), bells and bowls, stringed and bowed instruments, gamelan, marimbas, thumb pianos. One track, "Lumber Moan," seems to be sampled voices. The album is strikingly reminiscent of the work of Stephan Micus. Each track is beautifully recorded and superbly arranged; it is impossible to say whether any of the music here is a genuine folk piece or whether it was all composed by the musicians, but that probably isn't the point of the album. My only complaint would be that some of the pieces are far too short! Sonic concepts this good should perhaps be allowed to last and linger in the memory... but this is an intriguing and mysterious release, well worth investigating." (Simon Lewis & Steve Palmer / Terrascope Online)