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On the Sensations of Tone

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Album Review

The tuba is the outcast of the brass family. Big, fat, clumsy, and physically difficult to play, it discourages experimentation. There are a few tuba players in avant-garde music: Joe Daley, Mark Weaver, Leo Bachmann, and Oren Marshall. None of them have gone as far as Tom Heasley to transform the sound of the instrument. On his second album, On the Sensations of Tone, he uses electronics to create beautiful ethereal soundscapes. The low register of the tuba produces deep drones akin to (but not quite like) a didjeridoo. When digitally sustained, notes in the high register masquerade as ambient synthesizer sounds. The CD is comprised of two pieces. The 14-minute "Prelude" was recorded by Robert Rich, a logical partner in this adventure. If it weren't for the main sound source, the music of Heasley and Rich would have a lot in common. "Thonis" (42 minutes) was recorded live during a radio broadcast. Both are unedited improvisations. Comparisons to Robert Fripp and Brian Eno are inevitable, especially since the tuba's presence dissolves from within the soundscape. The second piece becomes a bit overlong and in the end the listener gets the impression that there is not much more to squeeze out of this concept, but it sure makes a soothing CD. ~ François Couture, Rovi


Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Tom Heasley began as a tuba player in the San Francisco Bay Area avant-garde scene, performing contemporary music and supplying the odd tuba backing for various jazz and rock projects. At the turn of the millennium he started to play solo using a rack of delays and digital loops, developed an adventurous ambient sound, and turned his career around, releasing acclaimed CDs on Hypnos and Innova Recordings. On these, his music has much more to do with J.A. Deane and Robert Rich than with other experimental...
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On the Sensations of Tone, Tom Heasley
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  • 8,99 €
  • Genres: Classical, Music
  • Released: 01 January 2002

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