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Nikko Wolverine

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Album Review

Chas Smith's Nikko Wolverine proposes strange new sonorities obtained through his own invented instruments. These metal resounding objects (sometimes wired) bear exotic names like the copper box, the bass tweed, the Lockheed, or the DADO. They produce sounds that feel part percussion, part string, part electronics. Smith uses them to produce meditative alien soundscapes where time comes to a halt. The three-part suite "Nikko Wolverine" makes a beautiful aural experience; one wishes he could see the composer/performer at work to understand how the sounds are produced. "Tons Tons Macoutes" is a harsher piece on the same instruments, closer to electro-acoustic works, although not that cinematic. The two last tracks, "Genus, Sho-Bud" and "Near the Divide" are pedal steel guitar compositions. The former is a slow-evolving soundscape while the latter is more rooted in the instrument's tradition, providing unexpected country overtones as a CD closer. Both works feel very tonal compared to what came before. The luxurious 16-page booklet contains many photographs of Smith's instruments that help nourish the listener's imagination. Definitely recommended. ~ François Couture, Rovi


Born: 1948 in Hardwick, MA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Composer, performer, and instrument designer Chas Smith (born 1948, Hardwick, MA) has appeared on dozens of feature film scores, rock, jazz, and blues albums playing pedal steel guitar and organ, but since the 1990s he concentrates on his impressive metallic sound sculptures. Following in Harry Partch's footsteps, he builds his own instruments, structures that can be struck or bowed in various places, and writes for them. He is an acolyte of Rick Cox, Michael Jon Fink, and Jim Fox, all revolving...
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Nikko Wolverine, Chas Smith
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