The Aura Maelstrom - A 15-Note HandPan

A Gu-like looking Maelstrom
Searching for the definition of “Maelstrom” revealed two potential meanings: “a powerful whirlpool in the sea or a river”, or “a situation or state of confused movement or violent turmoil”.  Which makes you wonder which of these the Aura guys had in mind, when they named their recently-revealed 15-note HandPan behemoth?  And listening to, and imagining playing, it, suggests that it could have been either, or both…

Sonically; the Aura Maelstrom does indeed sound to be a “powerful whirlpool” (though you may, or may not, want to take it into the sea, or river with you - a subject of some controversy at time of posting, over at Facebook),  And with 15 notes, including “booty taps”, and “grace notes” (the little “cyclops” notes that sit in-between), coming from a standard (if there is such a thing) nine-tone layout, I can imagine that there would be moments of confused movement, and perhaps even some violent turmoil, when first trying to get a handle on playing this beautiful beast.  

But when your hear it played with expertise, all of those extra "bells and whistles", do sound to go a long way. As can be heard in the following video performance by HandPan artist, Jacob Cole, performing on the Maelstrom, which has been, to date, the most popular video of 2015, over at HandPan Tube - with both instrument, and musician, being equally deserving of that shared recognition…

The notes of the Maelstrom sound-model are: 

(D), [F, G], A, [Bb], C, D, E, F, G, A, C, D, F, G

And you can also hear it in action below, being played by Aura's own Jon Antzoulis, accompanied by Mike Antzoulis, on Bawu...

Find more information on Aura, and their instruments: HERE
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