| Is it ambient, world music, classic, or jazz? All these elements can be heard on the new duo album by the widely traveled Munich-based musicians Peter Michael Hamel and Thomas Gundermann, who have repeatedly worked together ever since their first meeting at a café in Tangiers, Morocco. “Coincidence” documents partly meditative and partly unexpectedly intensive music in the exciting realm between composition and improvisation – spacious landscapes with Oriental textures and a wide spectrum of diverse tone colors.
Foto Roswitha Pross
77th Schneeball / Indigo CD 985162
Although the two instruments on this album are quite closely related, they come from two totally different musical cultures. Each creates sounds from vibrating columns of air. Each musician pumps rather than blows the air into sound-generating tubes, although the pump is manually operated in the one case and mechanized in the other. The one instrument is primarily associated with country fairs and itinerant minstrels, the other was played in Roman times to accompany gladiatorial battles and afterwards evolved into a church instrument.
The instruments described above are the bagpipe and the organ – an unconventional pair that has enjoyed a small flourishing in recent decades. Specially arranged Baroque or church music is played in most cases, but Thomas Gundermann and Peter Michael Hamel go far beyond this on their collaborative album. They explore a realm between composition and improvisation, conjure the Indian origins of the bagpipe, and exorcise the ecclesiastical sound from the church organ. Working with only a few registers, Peter Michael Hamel gives the Eule organ at the Church of the Ascension in Munich an intimate, pleasant, humble sound that leaves the theatrical thunder of classical organ compositions far behind. Thomas Gundermann plays the bagpipe using the techniques of the Indian shenai and the Moroccan ghaita to create arcing, barren, sonic landscapes that elude every attempt at categorization. Churchly modes, Indian ragas or Arab maquams could all equally well be the musical foundations here. Thomas Gundermann’s extensive solos breathe the improvisational aura of a John Coltrane or an Ornette Coleman.
Although Hamel and Gundermann have lived in Munich for many years, they first met at a café in Tangiers. Afterwards they played for several weeks with Moroccan musicians – with an Andalusian ensemble during the days and a Gnaoua brotherhood in the evenings. Back in Munich, Hamel composed “Musik für Sackpfeifen” [“Music for Bagpipes”] especially for Gundermann. The “Coincidence” album includes three of the four movements from that composition: “Andernorts” [“Elsewhere”], “Was bleibt” [What Remains”] and “Anverwandlungen” [“Adaptations”]. The album’s title – “Coincidence” – refers both to the musicians’ coincidental meeting in Tangiers and to the remarkable congruencies in their careers, interests and mindsets.
On YouTube: Hymne: http://youtu.be/vmK25e8EZpk
HAMEL / GUNDERMANN