Shakuhachi & Taimu-Related Press
Forest Knolls musicians gets gritty on his bamboo flute
A sinuous melody built of dark, airy phrases and the harsh echo of breath emerges from Cornelius Boots’ taimu shakuhachi, a Japanese flute. It is a warm autumn morning, and he is practicing a song called “Sycamore Trees” on the instrument made of root-end bamboo that slightly curves up at the tail.
“It’s super moody, so I hope it doesn’t bring you down,” he said, before launching into the piece in his Forest Knolls kitchen, where he typically practices.
Mr. Boots, a musician and music teacher, has always gravitated towards the lower registers: he played baritone sax in high school, and the bass clarinet in college, and, later in a longtime quartet he has led in the Bay Area. In 2008 he took up the taimu shakuhachi, which he will play along with a traditional shakuhachi next month at the Dance Palace’s Local Music… [more]
Getting low with Cornelius Boots and Joëlle Léandre
From his earliest stirrings as a musician, Cornelius Boots has always gravitated to low, rumbling tones. Since moving to the Bay Area about 12 years ago, he’s created a series of darkly dramatic ensembles, such as Edmund Wells, an unprecedented bass clarinet quartet, and the texture-minded duo Sabbaticus Rex.
In recent years, Boots has focused on mastering an array of bass shakuhachis, and he celebrates the release of his quietly enthralling album Mountain Hermit’s Secret Wisdom… [more]
Press Reviews of Holy Flute
“…a whirlwind aural experience.”
“…an unusual beast – a kind of musical chimera, hard to classify yet fascinating as a result…..One of the most striking features of the album is its virtuosity…anything but a typical album – it is a window onto a personal philosophy, a musical and pictorial game, a strange beast from a planet at the edge of the shakuhachi’s expanding sonic and cultural universe.”
–Joe Browning, European Shakuhachi Society Journal
“This all comes together and is strong enough in inner spirit to blow by any label of novelty record and stand out as a sparse and intriguing work.”
–David Hintz, FolkWorld
“The momentum and sound textures on this album are amazing and inspiring….I felt very engaged with these songs; it’s a great listening experience. Their compelling melodies, expressiveness, and force are all accentuated by stunning playing, which embraces a wide range of dynamics and texture and powerful rhythms. What comes through to me is a reverence for all of life, and the potent sounds of breath meeting bamboo.”
–Sue Shockey, Overtones: The World Flute Society Journal
“Holy Flute is about the strangest thing I have ever heard in my life. For the nexus fans of Bill’s flute (The eponymous anti-hero of Kill Bill as portrayed by David Carradine), Symphonic anything, and classic metal…This album is for all 17 of you! But hear it and discover its secrets. It’s a big job, but hard things are the only ones worth doing.”
–Nik Cameron, Glacially Musical
Edmund Welles-Related Press (EW Website)
A great write-up by Meredith at Coilhouse
“Confession: I’ve been meaning to write a feverish and swooning rave-up of Oakland-based musician Cornelius Boots‘ absurdly beautiful and strange and intelligent and mischievous and sincere and meditative and heavy-as-fuck bass clarinet chamber music group, Edmund Welles*, for years now…” [more]
So-called “weirdest band in the world” article
“Then we actually heard Edmund Welles–which is a band, not a person (the name is a Monty Python reference…I mean, not that I would know that without having to look it up…okay, maybe I would)–and, well, let’s just put it this way: The bass clarinet is an inherently weird instrument. Put four of them together in one group, and it sounds like a chorus of demon cats in heat fighting over a chicken bone. A demon chorus whose eerie caterwaulings just happen to occasionally assemble themselves into passages from Pixies and Nirvana songs… [here]