Archive for Sardinian guitar


Posted in Bjork, Evan Parker, Fred Frith, Hamid Drake, Ned Rothenberg, Paolo Angeli, Tibi with tags , , , , , , on December 22, 2010 by candymachine

Are you looking for that last minute Christmas gift for the guitar enthusiast, or someone interested in the possibilities of the guitar? Paolo Angeli’s ‘Tibi’ is sure to do the trick.

Angeli is an exponent of the Sardinian guitar, which might look like the offspring of a guitar and a cello. What he does with the Sardinian guitar, however, puts him in a category all his own. And what he does with the Sardinian guitar is documented on ‘Tibi,’ a CD/DVD aural, visual presentation of Angeli at work – or rather, at play. (Released on ReR Megacorp).

 As mentioned, the Sardinian guitar is larger than what we generally think of as a guitar, and is played in a more upright fashion, as you would approach a cello. To this guitar, Angeli attaches an array of miniature hammers, levers, springs, strings, coils, widgets, screws, whirlers, fans, cuffs, planks, clamps, cables, pedals…and more strings. There are multiple pick-ups, cross-layered strings, and foot triggered motors. In Angeli’s hands, the Sardinian guitar becomes something else, an invention of his own making, which he bows, strums, picks, plucks, taps and scrapes.

 Do not, however, let this description lull you into thinking that this is an ‘experimental’ recording, in the sense of “let’s just try this and see what happens.” Nor is it a catalog of random noises and sound bits created by random effects and chance procedures. Angeli knows exactly what he is doing and proceeds with purpose and sure hands (and feet).  Angeli’s invention and extension of the instrument meets and meshes with his imagination and innovation of technique to produce a music of translucent beauty. It’s all captured by Nanni Angeli, Simone Ciani and Lino Greco on the DVD portion of ‘Tibi.’ As the DVD opens, we’re introduced to some abstracted images, close-ups and angled shots of various parts of the instrument. We’re not certain of what it is we’re looking at. What we hear might be a small ensemble: strings, plucked bass, percussion, a guitar, electronics(?). As the video takes on more concrete form and the abstract and angular gives way to ‘regular’ concert video images, we see that the full soundscape we’ve been listening to is the creative activity of just one man. There are also segments of the workshop and instrument architects that put Angeli’s instrument together.

 I hope Tibi brings Angeli wider recognition.  And if you’re looking for a music where imagination and expression meets innovation and invention, Angeli is a great place to start.  I’m attaching a video of Angeli here, (taken from YouTube) since words don’t adequately convey what it is he does. This one is a liberal interpretation of Bjork’s Desired Constellation.

 Other related recordings by Paolo Angeli:


Tessuti (plays the music of Fred Frith and Bjork)

Free Zone Appleby 2007 (with Evan Parker and Ned Rothenberg)

Uotha (with Hamid Drake)

Linee Di Fuga