Beyond the Fields by Nardoo, (P Biffin and Z Clarke)



Beyond the Fields OM402 (2004)

"Fine intricate music that goes beyond the entwining of cultural styles deep into new realms of musical expression."

Peter Biffin is an Australian muli-instrumentalist who also makes/invents unique instruments - unique, in both sound and appearance. Visit for more about these instruments. Zana Clarke is a recorder virtuoso who also sometimes sings - literally through her instrument. Together they are Nardoo. Nardoo's new CD, Beyond The Fields offers beautifully new music which is both unfretted and unfettered. The album is a series of intimate, entirely improvised dialogues that never descend into chaos or cacophony. The primary instruments are Peter's various fretless members of the lute family and Zana's recorders and voice.

Instruments - Peter
Fretless Banjo. This banjo has been a faithful companion for many years. It lives in the kitchen, plays the children to sleep, greets me first thing in the morning. It is tenor banjo size with 4 strings, and is reasonably radical under the bonnet.
Fretless Guitar - the most recent in a long line of related fretless guitars. It has 4 fretless playing strings and a pair of fretted strings (tuned high) running along the bass side of the neck.
Banjo-ukelele. An old banjo-mandolin that I converted by replacing the skin with a thin wooden top, and dropping from 8 steel strings down to 4 nylon strings.
Voice. For a long time I have preferred to sing vocal sounds rather than words with meaning - I can focus more on melodic improvisation with sounds.

Instruments - Zana
Recorders. I have used two recorders on this recording - both are recorders even though one is called a treble recorder and the other a voice flute. The treble was made by Fred Morgan (Australia), and the voice flute by Joachim Rohmer (Germany).
Vocalized Recorder. This is a technique where I sing and play simultaneously, often two separate lines. As there is no overdubbing on this recording, when you hear recorder and female voice together it is vocalized recorder.
Voice. My use of the voice here is not very straight or upfront, often manipulating the sound by singing into cupped hands, adjusting the air chamber to create a wider variety of timbres.
Frame Drum. A 50cm frame drum made by Norbert Ekkermann (Vienna), with a goat skin top and a tunable head.

1. Wild Cherry 2:45 Fretless Banjo, Treble Recorder

2. Heat Haze 3:03 Fretless Banjo, Frame Drum

3. Mist 3:42 Fretless Guitar, Vocal

4. Red Lace 3:28 Fretless Guitar, Voice Flute

5. Torquay and Chocolate 2:44 Fretless Guitar, Vocal

6. Extended Space 2:58 Fretless Banjo

7. Thin Ice 2:31 Fretless Banjo, Vocal

8. Between Swings 5:36 Drum, Voice Flute/Vocal

9. Southbank 3:30 Fretless Guitar, Vocal

10. Derry's Dream 3:14 Fretless Banjo

11. Last Train 3:21 Fretless Guitar, Voice Flute/Vocal

12. Storm birds 3:09 Banjo Ukelele, Treble Recorder

13. ChildPlay 2:06 Fretless Banjo, Treble Recorder

14. Amber 2:25 Guitar/Vocal, Vocal


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  • Composer Dates Contemporary modal music
  • Instrumentation Recorder, Fretless Banjo, Frame Drum, Tarhu, Voice Flute
  • Catalogue Type Recorder

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Orpheus Music publishes contemporary recorder music featuring such composers as Diana Blom, Nigel Butterley, Zana Clarke, Justo Diaz, Lance Eccles, Ross Edwards, Malcolm Tattersall and Benjamin Thorn.

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