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FREEWAY vol 2 no 3 july september 1992 pp 8, 9 copyright 236w

review by Myles Boisen

Tom Nunn Plate Techphonics (Plate 1)

Those who have seen Tom in action, with RoToDoTi, Stritch, or alone, need no convincing that this tape is a treasure. his electro-acoustic boards (with attached rods, nails, springs, etc.) and space plates (resonant metal plates with attached rods) are original works of art in themselves, and produce beautifully unfamiliar sounds under their inventor's percussive pummeling. 4 or the 5 improvisations here were performed on boards, whose basic amplified sounds are rich in odd overtones, sometimes like prepared piano or Harry Partch's creations; subtle digital processing is used to diversify the sonic space, and makes an effective complement to the ever-changing rhythmic patterns.

Style-wise, he is in his own league, balancing nerve-jangling complexity (akin to gamelan) with a very gentle sustained spaciness, never losing his focus or humanity. On top of all his other talents, Mr. Nunn is indeed an accomplished percussionist and a very thoughtful, structural improvisor - but he doesn't bowl you over with "chops", and in fact it's easy to overlook all the work that went into this when confronted (or massaged) by the sheer mass of gorgeous sound. A superb work in every way, and very cleanly recorded too. By all means go and see him live, then get this tape, or write to 3016 25th St., San Francisco, CA 94110.


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