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Chris Baber | jazzreviews.net

REWA is Tania Giannouli’s third release for the Rattle label and carries her trademark mix of mysterious, prepared piano and haunting chord structures.

On this outing she works with Rob Thorne who plays traditional Maori instruments called nga taonga puoro. This is the collective name for ancient (with different instruments made from bone, wood, shells) with a sound not unlike a wooden flute or an ocarina (depending on which instrument is being played), and a pitching that employs microtones. The duo worked for two days in the studio, improvising together to produce some delicate and intricate musical patterns. Steve Garden’s audio reworking, using the played sounds to create rumbling ‘sound collages’. 

Given the ways in which music-making is so much part of the Maori culture that Rob Thorne is exploring and given the ways in which myth-making was so much a part of Greek culture, you get the impression that the players are improvising a shared mythology that combines these into something of their own. Garden’s reimagining and reworking of the sounds then brings out a sense that the music is being played in the presence of some sleeping monster or deity, whose breathing is inspiring the players.