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Davies, Rhodri: Over Shadows (Confront)

A single long work using an ebow to create compatible and conflicting harp drones from European experimental and improvising artist Rhodri Davies.

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product information:

Label: Confront
Catalog ID: Confront 16
Squidco Product Code: 11811

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2004
Country: Great Britain
Packaging: Digipack
Recorded in January, 2004, at the Old School, Bracon Ash, Norfolk


Rhodri Davies-harp, ebow

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track listing:

1. Over Shadows 36:07
Related Categories of Interest:

Sound, Noise, &c.
Improvised Music
Electro-Acoustic Improv
European Improv, Free Jazz & Related
London & UK Improv & Related Scenes
Free Improvisation

sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"The title 'over shadows' comes from Redell Olsen's book, secure portable space. Rhodri Davies is a significant figure in European experimental and improvised music; extending his harp under a battery of techniques - burning, scraping, EBowing, fixing speakers in the soundboard of his harp or via other particularly inventive tactics. Working with the foremost artists in the field such as Otomo Yoshihide, John Zorn, Sachiko M, Luc Ferrari, Mieko Shiomi, Jim O'Rourke and Christian Marclay."-Confront

"We've recently had a lengthy discussion on individual sounds or techniques in the music and our like or dislike of same. I admit, I've never been entirely take with the general sound produced by the ebow. There's something too round-edged about it, a non-graspability that pushes me away. I'll also say that when I held in my hands this new release by Rhodri Davies, a favorite musician of mine, I found myself hoping for some old-fashioned plucking. Maybe it was a few too many drone-oriented releases recently, but I wanted to hear plectrum and nails on strings.

So of course, this is a single track, solo recording of ebow on harp strings. Getting past this initial, entirely unfair disappointment took several spins, but gradually the work won me over to a fair degree. It benefits, not surprisingly, from being played at high volume, the better to appreciate not only the interweaving of overtones, but also the graininess that is buried somewhere down below the gloss provided by the ebow.It's quite easy to get lost in the pure sensuousness overflow at several points. The piece is a slow unspooling, as viscous as syrup but far clearer, allowing for multiple sonic refractions. It varies more than any quasi-similar work by Lucier (just for example) and also contains something of an emotional character, though of a subtly contemplative kind, one that hints of dolefulness or melancholy without ever dwelling there long enough for the listener to be sure. This slipperiness, this amorphous quality is both the most frustrating and intriguing aspect of "over shadows". You can't quite grasp it well enough to convince yourself of its basic solidity but you sense that it's indeed there. After about 36 minutes, it slides away.

A rewarding disc, challenging in ways that you don't come across very often. Give it time."-Brian Olewnick, Bagatellen

Artist Biographies:

"Rhodri Davies was born in 1971 in Aberystwyth, Wales and now lives in Gateshead in the northeast of England.

He plays harp, electric harp, live-electronics and builds wind, water, ice and fire harp installations. He has released four solo albums: Trem, Over Shadows, Wound Response and An Air Swept Clean of All Distance.

His regular groups include: a duo with John Butcher, Common Objects, HEN OGLEDD: Dawson - Davies, a trio with David Toop and Lee Patterson, Cranc, The Sealed Knot and a trio with John Tilbury and Michael Duch.

In 2008 he collaborated with the visual artist Gustav Metzger on 'Self-cancellation', a large-scale audio-visual collaboration in London and Glasgow.

New pieces for solo harp have been composed for him by: Eliane Radigue, Phill Niblock, Christian Wolff, Ben Patterson, Alison Knowles, Mieko Shiomi and Yasunao Tone.

In 2012 he was the recipient of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Grants to Artists Award."

-Rhodri Davies Website (

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