Ren Walters, Clinton Green, & Michael McNab – At the Salt Museum

Artists: Ren Walters, Clinton Green, & Michael McNab
Title: At the Salt Museum
Keywords: experimental marimba percussion salt site specificMelbourne
Label: Shame File Music

Do you know the joke about three people going to the Salt Museum? Yes, me neither. But I can tell you about some individuals named Ren Walters, Clinton Green & Michael McNab who went there to play, create and record their musical expressions. With ‘At the Salt Museum’ we can clearly hear what they have done there in audio-form, yet leaves perhaps a lot to the imagination how they have done it. It sounds to me as if they have thoroughly searched the location for anything that could make a sound when you hit it, creating some alternative gamelan show without the actual melodies. Perhaps they are there (those melodies) but it’s more subtle in the ringing of the objects and the natural sounds that they create when these friendly fellows kindly request to explore their inner child by taking over their bodies and playfully take over.

The three musketeers of hitting things do this in pure concentration, they (for the most part) will not speak a word as to focus completely into their inner world of rattling sounds. I think it’s a collection of woodworks, little twinkling sounds and active rhythm hypnosis. I don’t think there is any Salt used here, but who knows with mysterious experimental music like this; anything is possible. And yes, if we give our eyes a little wander there is indeed more to it than what meets the ears:

“In December 2015, we camped at Murray Sunset National Park in northern Victoria, Australia. During our time there, we sounded various sites and performed ritualistic actions. This album documents our sounding of the rusted salt harvesting machinery we discovered at the outdoor ‘salt museum’ on the shore of the Lake Crosbie saltpan.”

So there you have it, just like the cover photo suggested, the trio created this music with a rusted salt harvesting machinery and if you consider that it almost feels like a exotic percussive performance coming from a much more traditional culture, you got to give it to these chaps! They did an excellent job giving new musical life to something that would probably never been thought to be a musical instrument. Great job guys!

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