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Melbourne-based percussionist Maria Moles celebrates her mother's familial roots with an album of dreamworld electro-acoustic experiments inspired by the Kulintang gong music of the Philippines.
Formerly known as Mondo Flockard, experienced jazz drummer and experimental percussionist Maria Moles' latest full length is a heartfelt dedication to her mother Leolanda, spun around the music and locations that connect her to that side of her family. Her primary influence is South East Asian Kulintang music, ancient instrumental sounds composed using horizontal gongs and chimes struck with beaters. Moles dissolves these elements into her own personal sound set, juxtaposing gong chimes against peaceful synthesized pads on opening track 'River Bend', before more assertively centering the Kulintang sound on 'In Pan-as'. Named after her grandfather's farm in Pilar, the track's central beat is adapted from a rhythm Moles heard on "Muranao Kakolintang - Philippine Gong Music", and she uses this to anchor a choir of ghostly electronic smudges, before stopping the beat completely and allowing resonant gongs to take centre stage.
'Mansaka' was inspired by the Compostela Valley's Mansaka tribe, an ethnic group from the Southern Philippines who perform songs, dances and rituals to pass along their ancient history and culture. Moles doesn't attempt to recreate this music, but uses the form to direct the tonality of her synthesizers. As the composition develops, Moles gradually adds rhythmic gongs, matching the tones to the electronics before allowing them to ring out on their own. 'Distant Hills' closes the set with skeletal rhythmic gong tones to tap out gentle sophisticated patterns that lodge somewhere deep in the subconscious. It's subtle, deeply moving music.