Mallet Guitars Two / Music For Moai Hava

by Ex-Easter Island Head

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Mallet Guitars Two' is the second release by Ex-Easter Island Head. Expanding from the duo of their debut, 'Mallet Guitars One' to a quartet, the piece is four movements for mallet guitars, percussion and trumpet.

Originally commissioned for Liverpool Light Night (2010) and honed over a ten-month period of notable live performances alongside Rhys Chatham and Philip Jeck, 'Mallet Guitars Two' broadens the groups’ pulsing percussive minimalism into a full spectrum shimmer of electrified strings, chattering percussion and meditative brass.

Incorporating prepared third-bridge guitars to create a chorusing attack of alternating chords and a bamboo-struck field of flaring harmonics, 'Mallet Guitars Two' explores the melodic potential of overtones and drones generated through multiple electric guitars. Anchored by the mesmeric repetition of three fixed chords and incorporating tuned singing bowls alongside gong-like washes of cymbal, this composition exhibits a further refinement of Ex-Easter Island Head’s unique guitar minimalism.

Translated as “One who is lost”, Moai Hava is a ritually significant relic of the now lost Tangata Manu (Bird-Man) religion of Easter Island.
Taken from a burial ground on the island in 1868 by the crew of the British ship HMS Topaze, it is unknown whether this name refers to a deceased ancestor or the act of removal from the island, but his relocation coincides with the cataclysmic end of a culture which had existed on the island for around one-thousand years.

Recorded live before an audience of several hundred people, 'Music for Moai Hava' was commissioned for performance around the statue itself in the cavernous atrium of the World Museum, Liverpool. The piece sees Ex-Easter Island Head collaborating with members of the a.P.A.t.T Orchestra, an inclusive ensemble of no fixed size or instrumentation, bringing together players of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.

Performed with a twenty-seven piece ensemble, scored for mallet and third-bridge guitars, drums, hand percussion and voices, 'Music For Moai Hava' sees Ex-Easter Island Head’s guitar-struck minimalism at the centre of a ritualistic rattle of bamboo, handclaps, cymbals, bells, gongs and shakers before a horizon-line drone of prepared guitars ushers in a swelling chorus of wordless vocals, amplified by the five-storey space of the museum’s vast atrium.


released September 17, 2012



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