Call me naive or uncultured or even hashtag-basic if you want — but, until today, I never thought that water in a bowl could be a valid musical instrument. Then, I learned about Tomoko Sauvage and her album Musique Hydromantique. Upon reading the album’s title, my silly brain immediately thought, “Oh wow, an entire album about the Spider-Man villain Hydroman.” But (thankfully) Musique Hydromantique is so, so much more than some asinine quip.
Sauvage fills porcelain bowls with water and amplifies them with underwater microphones, turning something that you would expect only to see under a ceiling leak, into her own kind of natural synthesizer. Drops, waves and bubbles are the tones upon which Sauvage has crafted the three tracks that make up Musique Hydromantique.
“Clepsydra” sounds like the dripping of a water-based grandfather clock (which makes sense, because the song’s title does in fact mean “water clock”). “Fortune Biscuit” draws insect and animal-esque sounds out of the combination of water and porous Terracotta ceramic. “Calligraphy” was recorded in an echo chamber in a former textile factory, its frequencies pitch-bended by way Sauvage, changing water quantities by hand. (Damn, I can’t even measure out a non-wasteful amount of water to give my puppy in the morning, and Tomoko Sauvage is manipulating sound waves by altering water levels on the fly!)
Musique Hydromantique is out October 26 via Shelter Press. Having been recorded live during the same times of day, it will make the ideal soundtrack to your late night/early morning staring-at-the-ceiling-pondering-existence sessions. There’s no pre-order info as of yet, but check out the cover art and full tracklisting down below. And, if you’re a clueless rube like me, you can watch a video of one of Tomoko Sauvage’s live performances down below. It’s all we’ve got to go on…for now. Stay tuned, Spider-Man fans!
Musique Hydromantique tracklisting:
02. Fortune Biscuit