Hot off the press is the deluxe edition of the Hantu - Zither cassette from long term cassette-heads Nice Music. Quick pitch: Hantu ensemble will appeal to those interested in a culturally pluralistic approach to post-60s Jazz, the type of worldly music Alice Coltrane pushed for. A bit basic a take but it'll get the right people checking it out 🤷♂️ - Nic
Following high praise for her debut release on NM in 2022, a stack of live performances with an ever evolving cast of players and a collaborative release with Simon J Karis, Isobel D'Cruz makes her next move as Hantu - 'Zither Deluxe'.
Puzzlingly uncategorisable, 'Zither Deluxe' is nothing short of a post-minimalist masterpiece. A meticulous capture of the Hantu ensemble in peak form, recorded in two continuous takes over a single day by Patrick Telfer (Helen Svoboda, Isolation Improvisation Collective, Our Carlson, et al). Influences from avant-garde and jazz forms pulse confidently through Hantu’s selected instrumentation, expertly subverting "world music" clichés in its simultaneous celebration and evasion of D'Cruz's “Asianness”.
Ecstatically revising material from Hantu's original 'Zither EP', the quintet of Genevieve Fry (harp), Tom Flenady (double bass), Rama Parwata (gamelan percussion), Zach Schneider (guitar, synths) and D'Cruz (flute, zither) effortlessly flourish these motifs into another world entirely. The paranoia and crunch of the source material seems to have calcified to dust, blown gently across the forlorn flats and starry expanse this quintet quietly plays to.
Hints of ECM-style bass vs synth interplay, restless percussion, tactile harp cycles and gestural guitars fabricate a psychic resting place, mournfully caressing D'Cruz's cloud of recognisable flute and zither clusters. Confident, embellished flute work throughout 'Zither Deluxe' gleams brightly in particular - symbolic of D'Cruz's developing ideas and identity, both as a band leader and startlingly resourceful composer. - Nice Music