Rod Poole and Sasha Bogdanowitsch
October 2005 - Los Angeles, California - Mind’s Island features Rod
Poole’s just intoned acoustic guitar with the remarkable vocal talents
of Sasha Bogdanowitsch whose wordless vocal and beautiful melodic sense
work both with, and against, Poole’s more grittier sounding harmonic
washes and minimalist guitar playing. The use of “just
intonation” or “pure tuning” was paramount to the success of this
project. The magnitude of the overtones and resonance in
abundance in this tuning allow the musicians to produce sounds simply
not possible with instruments in the 12-tone idiom from the last few
centuries. Both Poole and Bogdanowitsch are long-time
practitioners of just intoned music and Mind’s Island is an advanced
example of the melodic and harmonic possibilities that can be created
using alternative tuning systems.
All of the recordings on Mind’s Island were created with virtually no
prior discussion before the actual taping. Scale(s) were chosen
as a basis for improvisation. Melody, harmony, rhythm, dynamics,
and duration were spontaneous. Songs were selected democratically
by both parties desiring the inclusion of a particular piece. Any
feeling or uncertainty by either party would lead to the removal of a
piece from the CD’s inclusion.
Justguitar Records was created in the Fall of 2005 as a vehicle for the
Los Angeles-based acoustic guitarist Rod Poole to make available new
and archival recordings from his sound library. Mind’s Island is
the first release for Justguitar Records.
Rod Poole began playing the guitar in 1972. He experimented with
various musical idioms and by the mid-80s, his primary interests were
acoustic-based free improvisation and finger-picked solo acoustic
guitar. A founding member of the Oxford Improvisors’ Cooperative,
Poole’s association was between the years 1983-1986. After moving
to the United States in 1989, his studies in just intonation began with
the world’s foremost theorist on the subject, Ervin Wilson. Poole
spent the next several years developing his approach to playing the
guitar using just intonation theory. Poole has released a
handful of unique and highly praised CDs on the W.I.N., Transparency,
and Incus labels – The Dead Adder, December 96, Iasis,and The Acoustic
Guitar Trio. He contributed “Kalaidoscopic Sunday” to the Henry
Kaiser-curated guitar compilation, 156 Strings, and “The Fire Left to
Come” to the SASSAS two-CD set, Sound, a compilation of Los
Angeles-based performances curated by Cindy Bernard. Poole was
also responsible for engineering the recording of all but three of the
performances on Sound. He has performed with Derek Bailey, Mia
Masaoka, Joseph Hammer, Kraig Grady, Nels Cline, Donald Miller, Pat
Thomas, Tony Bevan, Eugene Chadbourne, and others.
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From reviews of previous Rod Poole releases:
“...this is spellbinding minimalism, a testament to the acoustic
guitar’s vitality and volatility. One for the ages.” Dave
Segal, Alternative Press, no. 105.
“...a brilliantly realized microtonal work, executed with a skilled
improvisor’s awareness of the acoustic guitar’s expressive potential.“
Julian Cowley, The Wire.
“It’s one of the most optimistic modern statements made for an
instrument that many feel has reached its limit.” Aaron Burgess,
“...some of the most singular and enthralling solo guitar music I’ve
Frank van den Elzen, Popwatch.
“...shows an incredible dexterity and inventiveness taking us through
the typical highs and lows with a stunning fluidity of technique and
tonality...What happens here is at times, truly mesmerizing, offering a
level of intricate tuned percussiveness comparable to gamelan.”
Chris Rice, Halana.
Sasha Bogdanowitsch is a composer, vocalist & multi-instrumentalist
whose work strives to unite East and West sensibilities by working
towards a unique ‘world’ musical language. His compositional output has
ranged from writing for chamber ensembles to multitrack tapes with live
performance to music for unique ensembles, such as gamelan and early
music groups, to live and recorded music for theater, dance and film.
Sasha has a Master of Arts from the University of California at Santa
Cruz and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the California Institute of the
Arts, both where he studied composition and world musics, integrating
the two into multi-movement, interdisciplinary performances. He has
studied musics from India, Indonesia, Australia, Africa & Turkey;
some in their countries of origin and some in the US. He has
worked extensively with the SaReel Project, the ‘avant-world’ ensemble
that he co-founded, Lou Harrison, Artisan Entertainment, the American
Festival of Microtonal Music, New Music Works & Just Strings.
capturing the rich vocal resonances of barbershop quartet in an equally
mystical idiom.” Kyle Gann, The Village Voice.
” Anthony Tommasini, New York Times.
Justguitar Records/ 801 N. Las Palmas, Suite 4 / Los Angeles,