The Permanent Way

by Ivodne Galatea



Another album of situated music: Volume 4 of the Out of Africa Series visits the mbira ancestry of the Hohner Pianet Model T.

These recordings are part of the situated music experiments I have been doing. By removing the music from the original performance context the proto-minimalist nature of the music becomes revealed, and a gentle aesthetic can be revealed. Anyone who loves the music of Riley, Bryars, Glass or Adams will find something to love here.

The music is arranged as a duet for Hohner Pianets, a keyboard lamellophone made during the 60s and 70s. It used sticky silicon pads the lift tines insde it, emulating the lifting or pressing of keys by thimbs. In this arrangement, one Pianet playing the lead or kushaura part, while the other is playing the kutsinhira or accompanying part. The kutsinhira part introduces secondary rhythms and melodies into the piece rather that playing accompaniment in the sense understood in the European art music tradition.

It involves extended performances of the music in the manner of classic mbira performances: one pianet in realtime over an extended period of time: it is an approximation of performances I make with a Strymon El Capistan single-shot looper at home. Additional modulation and saturation using a Strymon Deco tape emulator.

This album features mbira pieces on the first four scale degrees within the proposed great Mbira cycle. This proposes a pattern of common 12/8 pieces featuring dyads that are consecutively raised a diatonic second in the overall diatonic framework of mbira notes, with the effect of essentially identical relative harmony presenting a new musical (and emotional) outcome. There is no ultimate agreement as to the existence of this cycle, and the two albums “The Permanent Way” and “The Rest of the World” (volumes 4 and 5 of the Out of Africa series) explore the notion of the cycle through extended Hohner Pianet renditions of the pieces within the proposed cycle framework.

The music investigates the upward cycle of mbira songs through diatonic transposition: I, II, III, IV, and so on returning to the octave. This is the first half, with I (Nhemamusasa) II (Dande) III (Bukatiende) and IV Bangidza. Chakwi, an alternative to Dande for II, is revisited for a Pianet duet (contrasting with the Guitaret duet earlier, using the fuller instrumentation and range). Pieces for V-VII and a reprise of the tonic will be in the accompanying album, the Rest of the World.

The piece has a setting inspired by the literal meaning of Nhemamusasa - cutting branches for a temporary shelter. There is a double performance of rainshower followed by fire. The music is placed in the context of dawn at Fryers Forest in Victoria, Australia, near where my brother lives.


released January 4, 2016

Ivodne Galatea - Pianet looping with Strymon El Capistan and Deco tape emulators.

Freesounds used with gratitude:
kkswinso - Raging Fireplace
sclolex - Light Rain With Thunder
daveincamas - Thunder
graybaker - Knife River Surf
kangaroovindaloo - Dawn Fryers Forest and Fryers Dawn
inchadney - Fireplace




Ivodne Galatea Nedlands, Australia

Principally playing original compositions of an ambient nature on the Hohner Guitaret as well as other thumb pianos/finger harps/lamellophones.
Interested in orchestration using field recordings, per the great John Cage's suggestions (1937).
The pieces are all pataphysical book reviews. They consist of musical essays on books of the same title that haven't been written, but should have.
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