Ensemble Nist-Nah is the new Gamelan / percussion ensemble led by Nantes-based Australian drummer and percussionist Will Guthrie. Nist-Nah finds Guthrie branching out in a new direction, using the metallaphones, hand drums and gongs of the Gamelan ensembles of Indonesia alongside drum kit, other percussions, classic, found and junk. The music presented is grounded in Guthrie’s travels in Indonesia and study of various forms of Gamelan music, from the stately suspended temporality of the courtly Javanese Gamelan Sekatan, to the delirious, thuggish repetition that accompanies the Javanese trance ritual Jathilan, to the shimmering acoustic glitch of contemporary Balinese composer Dewa Alit and his Gamelan Salukat.
Far from an exercise in exoticism, Nist-Nah develops out of Guthrie’s extensive work with metal percussion in recent years (as heard, for example, on his 2015 LP for iDEAL, Sacrée Obsession), where gongs, singing bowls and cymbals are used to build up walls of hovering tones and sizzling details. Though Guthrie is broadening his palette to explore Gamelan instrumentation and pay tribute to his love of this sophisticated yet elemental percussion music.
Bringing together 10 of France’s finest, Nist-Nah hosts a wealth of experience and expertise, with it’s members coming from eclectic and mixed backgrounds, from traditional musicians, contemporary percussionists, to noise and free jazz fanatics, presenting a music equally informed by Guthrie’s interests in free jazz, electro-acoustic music and diverse experimental music practices, exploring long tones, extended techniques, and non-metered pulse.