Bowed Metal Music

Bowed Metal Music

The universal cymbal
Peter Warren
Matt Samolis
Peter Warren
Matt Samolis
Catalog Number: 
homemade instruments

Boston, MA

Release Date: 
Oct 25, 2001
Liner Notes: 
1 CD
One Sheet: 

Peter Warren's and Matt Samolis's work on their modified steel cellos is in part a blending of the harmonic and drone traditions. The steel cello is a remarkably resonant and sympathetic assemblage of cymbals and tuned steel rods that, once set into vibration, produces a huge variety of subtly shifting timbres and harmonic intervals. Rich in enharmonic overtones, the evocative music occasionally sounds like it has been electronically modified.  Listeners report being transported on a timeless inward journey of searing beauty. 

Matt Samolis has been collaborating for many years in the Boston area in both improvised, theatre, and sound art contexts. His most well known project in recent years has been Gaduri, an ensemble based on bowed metal, tuned glass and other custom-built instruments, and extended vocal techniques.  Peter Warren has been performing in collective improvisational settings for thirteen years in the Boston area, beginning with Ken Vandermark's group, Lombard Street. In 1994, he established two improvising groups, Cheap Suit and Elastic Consort, the latter which included Matt Samolis playing flute. 



"Bowed Metal Music is a continuous, hour-long odyssey into the otherworldly dimensions populated by curved sheet metal, cymbals and vibrating rods. Warren & Samolis, our guides to these strange lands, pilot modified steel cellos through the enharmonic plains, forests of resonance and sympathetic song of ferrous unison. Years of labor by both musicians in the areas of improvisation and conjuring delicate acoustics from these sound sources culminated in this recording. This alien, acoustic experience confronts the listener with iridescent overtones that shimmer reflections of the percussion suns set in orbit by these sonic wizards. A complex, but serene experience, Bowed Metal Music is singular and exceptional." - Tom Schulte


"It reproduces one complete concert during which the two men coaxed shimmering vibrations from their so called modified steel cellos... But like the Cello, their instrument harbors a profusion of goreous sonorities ready for release at the stroke of a skilled hand. Warren and Samolis make the metal sing a gorgeous long song of gradually evolving tones." - Bill Meyer


"A soporific, lulling, quality, a hypnotic feel to it….a great work." - Antony Burnham


"a brilliant and perfectly balanced moment... a blanket of overtones folding and rolling into vast oceans of resonance... a journey inward through an evolving landscape, meditating on time and metamorphosis"


This is one of those one of those times that I wish that I had heard Metal Machine Music, so that I might here make a sly comparison. However, I'm pretty sure that if you dig MMM, you'll dig this as well. The title pretty much tells you what you need to know: it's music produced by vibrating metal plates and cymbals with bows. It's a beautiful sound if you're into that sort of thing, and the performance here has a sort of trajectory to it. Quite the religious experience, actually, if approached with the proper frame of mind. - Phil Curtis