The kalimba is one of the newest instruments in my collection; it’s a traditional African instrument with metal tines attached to a resonator (in this case a coconut with a wooden top) and came from the Christmas market at Wilhelminenberg. I also have a much older version with wooden tines that does not sound as clear and is rather quiet. This was labelled as a Ndenge when I bought it, but the instrument is also known as a mbira or thumb piano. They come in many shapes an sizes, made out of many different materials, but both of mine are pretty simple note-note versions.
My flute has seen action on a couple of Dreiviertel Drei and Lunacy Board tracks, but this is the first time I’ve used it as the main instrument. It is a simple celtic flute, covering two octaves, with the same fingering as a tin whistle and none of the keys of a modern concert flute, though it covers a similar low range. The tone is rather more earthy than a concert flute, as wood or plastic is used for construction instead of metal.
The first track starts off slowly, building to a breakneck pace until my fingers could not move any faster across the kalimba tines. Five different kalimba tracks play different parts across the stereo spectrum, melting into a flurry of chaos by the end, while the flute remains fairly understated until the final third.
This is a multi-layered improvisation created by continuously recording all the parts across many loops, which were then picked apart so that the interplay between instruments could come through. Two main kalimba parts are accompanied by the ndenge as basic percussion and the flute echoes the kalimba motif.
Finally, after the slow, rather creepy first tracks, here the flute takes the lead for a short up-tempo piece, while the kalimba drives it along with the help of a little filtered delay and some more percussive ndenge.