Sunday, June 28, 2015

Hayden Chisholm, The Well Tempered Sruti Box

Hayden Chisholm released The Well Tempered Sruti Box in 2013. It makes up part of the multi-album collection titled 13 Views of the Heart’s Cargo. This particular album contains three tracks, with each one referred to as "The Well-Tempered Sruti Box."

Chisholm has found a way to play the sruti box at the same time that he plays saxophone, sometimes only using one hand to play the saxophone. What distinguishes these tracks is that the first one features Chisholm on soprano saxophone and sruti box, the second one features Chisholm on alto saxophone and sruti box, and the third one is recorded live and features Chisholm on sruti box and both soprano and alto saxophone.  

The first two tracks are particularly memorable. Each track is composed of a series of vignettes in which silence serves as the transition between each vignette. Chisholm often opens each vignette with the tones of the sruti box before he adds saxophone, and these vignettes last at least up to a minute before he transitions to the next one, with the sruti box often making a reappearance during these vignettes.

The third track, recorded live in Breman, features a recording in which all ambient noise has been eliminated. This third track contains the widest variety of sounds and tones made on the saxophone, some of them less soothing than what appears on the first two tracks.

This album, as a whole, enchants.  It gives voice to those melancholic moments, not depression or sadness but those moments of contemplation and wonder. This album is highly recommended.

Personnel: Hayden Chisholm, sruti box, soprano saxophone, and alto saxophone.

Tracks: 1) The Well-Tempered Sruti Box (soprano) 12:34; 2) The Well-Tempered Sruti Box (alto saxophone) 11:53; 3) The Well-Tempered Sruti Box (Live in Bremen) 28:36.