Austrian percussionist and composer Manu Delago, known as a pioneer of the hang, has garnered wide acclaim in recent years collaborating with the likes of Bjork, Anoushka Shankar, Poppy Ackroyd, the London Symphony Orchestra, Olafur Arnalds, amongst many more. His latest sonic venture saw him embark on a mountaineering expedition in the Alps with an ensemble of seven musicians and the result is a film and accompanying album entitled Parasol Peak. During their journey, Delago and his ensemble performed and recorded new compositions in different locations and altitudes using only acoustic instruments, including the percussive sounds of their climbing gear. Delago explains:
“Of course performing on acoustic instruments has been done for thousands of years, so I wanted to add an extra component – nature, or more precisely the Alps. I wanted to utilise our surroundings by incorporating lots of percussion sounds like trees, water, little rocks as well as the gear that we were carrying, such as helmets, carabiners or ice axes.
In general, I find limitations inspiring and in the case of Parasol Peak I was limited to a fixed ensemble of 7 musicians. The different locations also brought various limitations, which affected how I composed the music. At some locations we were vertically aligned and couldn’t see each other. At others we couldn’t hear each other, or we were trying to survive while playing.”
Speaking about the rough weather and conditions endured by the crew, Delago said “there were several moments of physical struggle and anxiety in the group but that makes playing music together even more emotional”. He added: “There were definitely moments when individuals in the group would have turned around and left the expedition but because we could only do it as a group, we had to strongly support each other. We had to help each other carrying instruments and gear, as well as help each other in overcoming anxieties and exhaustion.”
Parasol Peak will see the light of day on September 7th through One Little Indian and ahead of it, Delago is enticing us with the magnificent title track. Wrap your ears around it below and straight after watch the gorgeous and breathtaking film trailer.
In other related good news, and following on from previous collaborations with Anoushka Shankar, the two, along with 27-member string section Metropole Orkest Strings, have a special performance in store for lucky attendees at Le Guess Who? Festival this November.