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Die australischen Ureinwohner verzichteten bewusst auf Ackerbau und Viehzucht. Das Land war ihnen heilig. Neuere archäologische Forschungen scheinen zu bestätigen, dass die Kultur der Aborigines, die sich u.a. in Felszeichnungen erhalten hat, gut 50.000 Jahre alt, der Kontinent jedoch wenigstens 176.000 Jahre von Menschen bewohnt ist. Das Hauptmusikinstrument vieler Aboriginesvölker, ein von Termiten hohlgefressener Eukalyptusstamm, erlebt bei uns im Westen unter dem Namen 'Didjeridu' (auch Didgeridoo, kurz „didge“) einen wahren Boom. Bei den Ureinwohnern hat das Instrument entsprechend den vielen verschiedenen Sprachen viele Namen. So simpel das Rohr aussieht - wird es von Könnern wie den Aboriginal-Musikern David Hudson, Matthew Doyle, Alan Dargin und Mark Atkins geblasen, entstehen Klangwelten von unerschöpflicher Vielfalt. An den Produktionen wirkten mit: Michael Atherton (Professor und Leiter/Gründer der Musikfakultät der Universität von Western Sydney), Steve Roach u.a

Alan Dargin lernte als Fünfjähriger Didjeridu von seinem Großvater und wurde weltweit als Botschafter der Aborigines-Kultur bekannt durch Konzerte und Aufnahmen mit dem London Symphony Orchestra, Bob Marley's Wailers, durch Filme wie Priscilla und Queen of the Desert. Michael Atherton, Musikprofessor, Buchautor, Komponist und Multiinstrumentalist, spielt zu Dargins Didjeridu Schlaginstrumente (Marimba, Gamelan Gongs u.a.), Gitarre, Synthesizer. Hinzu kommen die Gastrommler David Atkins und Tim Marceau. Dichte Stimmungen, starkes Engagement für die Ureinwohner (nicht nur Australiens), enorme Musikalität.

the project

Cross-Hatch is the second CD collaboration between Alan Dargin and Michael Atherton, following their first release Bloodwood, an unedited, real-time performance aimed at articulating complex patterns. Cross-Hatch pursues Dargin's and Atherton's interest in exploring the studio as a space for improvised duets and multi-instrumental pieces.

Thematically, the landscape of Australia remains a source of inspiration, as well as the sounds of multicultural, urban Australian country which supports cultural diversity as a matter of government policy.

It's not surprising that such a rich musical environment should influence the artists musical ideas. Pieces such as Afrodidj and Crossings have grown out of a passion for Afro-Caribbean musics. Other influences can be heard in Ketuk, an improvisation mixing didjeridu with Pejogedan gamelan instruments. Additional tracks such as Sunshower have been assisted by the high standard of instrument making in Australia. In this case, a hand-crafted guitar is combined with a rare didjeridu from Oenpelli, Arnhem land. Gingjunggang (Kununurra language, Western Australia), which completes the recording, takes its title from one of the many known words for didjeridu. A delicious treat for didj lovers, this is an continuous impromptu piece (nearly 16 minutes long) by Dargin, recorded without interruption, exploring different tempi and changes of texture, as if to reflect the daily life cycle of the bush.

In addition, two tracks are reissued from the Bloodwood album (which is no longer available) including Storm Warning, an essay conjuring the vast and sometimes foreboding natural phenomena of tropical Australia, for some a frontier of paradoxical beauty, both delicate and jangling in its vastness.

the artists

Michael Atherton & Alan Dargin

A cultural ambassador for Australia, world renowned didjeridu master Alan Dargin learned to play the didj at the age of five. Taught by his grandfather, he learned on a didj made from a now extinct species of bloodwood tree, a eucalyptus which bleeds red sap when cut. He has played with orchestras, jazz groups and techno musicians. Alan is also an actor. One of his goals is to make the didjeridu a respected and understood instrument on the world stage, encouraging audiences to appreciate the didjeridu as having both a sacred and a secular role in indigenous Australian music.

Michael Atherton, an internationally traveled performer, composer and author of books on musical instruments, is a true multi-instrumentalist. First mastering the classical guitar and lute, he has played in early music ensembles, art rock bands, multicultural groups and chamber ensembles. Michael is also an accomplished composer for the screen and writes chamber music. Since 1993, Michael has served as a Foundation Professor at the University of Western Sydney, Nepean, to set up a music department committed to a 20th century focus, to music technology, hybrid performance and to scholarly research in Australian music.

biography - atherton

discography - atherton

discography - dargin

tracklist

1 Virtuoso Didg 1'35"
2 Ketuk 4'30"
3 The Call 7'53"
4 Sunshower 3'42"
5 Afrodidj 3'10"
6 Forest Light 6'58"
7 Crossings 4'47"
8 Storm Warning 5'58"
9 Ginjunggang 15'52"
  Total Time: 54'48"