Boomkat Product Review:
Pure ecstasy from a living deity: 78 minutes of ineffably blissful, deferred drone gratification of thee highest order. Massive RIYL Pandit Pran Nath, La Monte Young, Alice Coltrane, Angus MacLise, Tony Conrad, being human
Writing thru tears of joy here, ‘cos ’Solo for Tamburium’ has just turned us to a vibrating mass of mush. Taken from a 2017 performance at MaerzMusik in Berlin, the piece is perhaps the most intimately generous, radiant manifestation of C.C. Hennix’s devotion to her craft. As far as we can tell, it is the first release to feature her solo since the 1976 recordings of ’Selected Keyboard Works’, and depicts the septuagenarian Swedish musician, poet, philosopher, mathematician and visual artist at a crest of her powers; cascading an eternal stream of sustained drone and cosmic iridescence from a just intoned, custom-built tamburium - a version of the Indian long-neck lute instrument she studied under Indian classical music master Pandit Pran Nath, which is crucial to performing the ancient music’s drone chronics.
In Hennix’s hands, the results are simply blinding, bringing a rare intensity and beauty rarely found in Western musics beyond the blues and psychedelia, but commonplace for millennia in modes of the subcontinental raga and Arabic maqam that she references. Hennix knows this from her roots in jazz and the fabled ‘60s NYC minimalist scene, that led to an in-depth, lifelong study of modal practice, developing, under Pandit Pran Nath, a system of precision-tuned preparation and intuitive, devotional performance that syncs mind-body and opens the gates for a staggering, singular sense of expression. As with all her solo and ensemble-based works, the spice flows with a preternatural effortlessness, but we’ve never heard it quite so glorious and glittering with utopian promise as here, with Hennix utterly locked into her own mode.
Oceanic, cosmic, corporeal, and spiritually resonant, the music stunningly feeds forward Hennix’s earliest urges into a timeless here and now. It is both immediately gripping, and yet unfolds its fathomless layers with durational immersion, ebbing with elemental logic to reveal dynamically shifting harmonic intensities and shearing timbral intricacies that reprogram perceptions and radically home in on music’s psychophysical effects. Quite honestly, if pushed, we’d happily live on a desert island with only C.C. Hennix’s catalogue and a decent rig for company, and never get bored. Just imagine supping coconuts, slapping midges and quivering to her cold rushes under tropical sun. That’s how we feel right now.