Big Air 2

by ML Wah

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Into Focus 08:51
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Knowing 09:00
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about

Matt LaJoie's solo introduction as ML Wah was via the Big Air cassette in January 2018 - a single 45-minute longform ambient work that ran solo trumpet and slide trombone through elongated looping patterns, transforming pure improvisation into patiently unfolding breath-based composition. Taking initial inspiration from Terry Riley's improvised collaborations with Don Cherry and the Theatre of Eternal Music, LaJoie's output as ML Wah traveled a more composition-based path for the multi-instrumental, pan-genre devotional-psych LP Deep Roots and its companion tape Heavenly Host in 2019, as well as last summer's glittering Shinki Water tape. A common thread through these three releases was the introduction of melodica as a primary lead instrument; a longtime admirer of prolific Jamaican musician and dub producer Augustus Pablo, LaJoie sought to wed Pablo's signature instrument to genres not usually associated with it: cosmic jazz, psychedelic rock, and devotional folk music.

The three-year journey comes full circle on Big Air 2, placing the melodica within the realm of ambient and durational drone that was ML Wah’s initial focus. Beginning with the familiar, reedy tone of the melodica gradually accumulating elongated notes into a lush drone bed, the automatic composition slowly transforms into hallucinations of cathedral pipe organ, harmonium and shruti box played in duet, or an orchestra comprised entirely of chromatic harmonicas. By the time we arrive at closing track "Fire Breath > Lighter", the simple tonality of the instrument is warped all the way to pure electronic noise via delay and reverb effects - a nod to the extreme dub production techniques that LaJoie credits with evolving his own ear for psychedelia.

Recorded as part of the "song-a-day" Colander series (available in full exclusively to subscribers), these five pieces are the first set from that unfolding 24-hour-long album to be made available to the public.

credits

released February 12, 2021

solo melodica by ML Wah
in offering to the eternal spirit of Augustus Pablo

Yamaha P32D Pianica played through DL4 delay and T2 reverb. Recorded and mixed December 7, 2020 by Matt LaJoie at home in Portland, Maine. Cover art ("Windsong"), layout and design by ML.

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Flower Room Portland, Maine

Exploration & discoveries in improvisation & harmonization ☄ Tonal cosmology, virtual rurality, and hymns inspired by the cosmos and the natural world, to heal and inspire a more harmonious You-We-All ☤ Welcome

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