Wu Man: Pipa (2003)
The current, modern consideration of the pipa is no exception. Pipa virtuoso Wu Man combines the ancient and futuristic to produce music that is less of the Chinese restaurant and more of the opium den. From a Distance is populated with moody, dirge-like mantras that are rhythmic and harmonic musical trances. Her employment of sampling and turntablism jettisons the music deep into the 21st century. The Opening "Invocation" is perhaps the most traditional of the pieces, which, from there, become more challenging. Stuart Dempster’s didjeridu fills all space as it vibrates pieces like "Walking to the East." There, things become electrified. "Shanghai Blues" sounds as if it would fit very well on recent Jonas Hellborg offerings, with its mantra rhythms and plugged in instruments.
"Vincent’s Tune" uses a toy piano to introduce the pipa and banjos with the didjeridu providing the rich bottom of the tune, a beautifully strange fugue turned inside out and shaken really hard. The results are intoxicating and panoramic.
For more information, visit Naxos World Records .
Track Listing: Invocation; Dancing!; Ancient Spirits; Walking To The East; Shanghai Blues; Vincent
Personnel: Wu Man