Expansive inner-journeys into world-opening passages as told by Mike Tamburo through hammered dulcimer, drones and tones, and other instrumentation
Mike Tamburo, also known as Brother Ong and one part of Crown of Eternity, has returned to his renowned practice of hammered dulcimer in his latest release composed between 2010 and 2015, The Way to Be Free. Travelled upon, dissipated, and re-worked through multi-layered wanderings, Tamburo’s The Way to Be Free treads old practices and phases through the complicated inter-workings of his most expansive string works to date. The Way to Be Free is a comprehensive exploration of an artist’s massive perceptual shifts as told through compositions
that travel memories of past performance, the stripped bare return to disappeared collaborations, and the complexities found in the relationship between musician and instrument.
Culling informative listenings of Dorothy Carter, Alice Coltrane, Shivkumar Sharma, Robbie Basho, Sandy Bull and John Fahey, Mike Tamburo’s explorations of hammered dulcimer are positioned in deep wanderings to understand American identity through folk music. As a veteran of the DIY avant-
garde and improvisation circuit, as well as his more recent work with meditation music and formless sound, Tamburo’s extensive touring has culminated in a multiplicative approach to the engagements experienced through his road-traversed interpretations of anywhere USA. How
this manifests in Tamburo’s work is applicable in the sounds of The Way to Be Free: the music evokes a sense of experienced external travel defiant of a permanent destination, allowing the listener to act as a dislocated traveler repeatedly embarking on the recording’s voyages for contemplative discovery.
Tamburo’s The Way to Be Free offers the listener an intricate sincerity evoked in the album’s most tender renderings. As a companion to soft considerations, Tamburo doesn’t hesitate to present the listener with challenging confrontations. The most intimate moments meander into
controlled manias, hard-tinged hammered dulcimer drumbeat regions, and controlled corridor-like repetition. Ascent comes at a cost in The Way to Be Free, and it is reflective of Tamburo’s journeys and exploratory phasing(s) necessary for artists to expand and grow beyond their
- Ed Steck
Sounds Eternal 11
releases 30 March 2015