Christina Kubisch - Armonica (CD Semishigure)

The Armonica is an instrument created by Benjamin Franklin in 1763 which consists of glass discs that rotate (powered by the foot) and are played with a wet finger. So it's ripe for Christina's attention. The glass harmonica used was found in the Electronic Studio of Berlin Technical University. Now here's where it gets a little odd. Christina doesn't play it for the album. Instead it's played by Konstantin Restle. As far as I can see all she's done is edit the recordings, leaving it as a single 56 minute piece, unprocessed and left pure. 

It's an ethereal sound. Soft glass tones linger in the air and slowly fade. Apparently many women who played the instrument would faint. There can't have been anything that sounded like it. 

As an album it doesn't amount to much more than a souvenir recording of a long unheard instrument. A far more exciting experience would have been to be present in the room when the instrument was played. Surely the sight of the instrument itself is part of the experience? So it's frustrating that there isn't a picture of the instrument. Instead there's a pretty good line drawing. Pity they couldn't show us the real thing. However, there are some  beautiful pictures of empty rooms and doorways, with close-ups on the texture of the walls and floors. Now that really is a recognizably set of Kubisch images. HM

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