LOOPING jaw harp orchestra
The mission of the LOOPING jaw harp orchestra (LJHO) is to contribute to the diversity of musical species. While guitars are not allowed in the band, there is room for three dozen jaw harps, steel pans, marimba, several wind instruments as well as overtone and undertone singing.
With a reliable sense of style, the LJHO alternates between different genres: its multi-instrumentalists cover every musical terrain from jazz and world music to folk, rock, reggae, punk and pop. Still, what is unique to them is their special sound, which results from the LJHO’s extraordinary line-up.
Ing. LOOP [pronounce: engineer loop], the founder of this musical project, is in charge of composition, production and label management of the LJHO. Distorted jaw harp sounds are his trademark, and his ambition is to play this traditional instrument in new musical contexts. For instance, he combines it with his other instruments such as baritone and low tenor steelpans (steel drums), marimba, keyboards, harmonicas and percussion. With his first CD, LOOPING – Gitarren, nein danke [Guitars? Thanks but no thanks], which came out in 2007, he also makes a statement against the predominance of guitars.
A man of many talents, Norbert Bieber has cooperated with Ing. LOOP to produce the albums Elephant Road and Universal Language. He has also contributed the LJHO’s cover of Universal Language. In addition, Nobert and Ing. LOOP are running the Kadoing project, where jaw harp sounds are fed into a computer in order to combine this historical instrument with new technology.
As of 2011 Bernhard Hanreich has lent his voice to the LOOPING jaw harp orchestra – and what a voice! He has practised overtone and undertone singing for many years. His extraordinary vocal technique, and his own universal language, can be heard on seven tracks of the album Universal Language, and he plays the jaw harp on The Other Side. This track, as well as Tuba for Klaus (tribute to Klaus Nomi) are joint compositions by Bernhard Hanreich and Ing. LOOP. Bernhard also performs with his own formation, Y-Project, and works as an organiser of cultural events: every year, many regional and international artists meet for concerts and other events at Feldegg Castle at Pram, Upper Austria.
Are you familiar with dvojačkas and hulusis? You will be – after listening to Bernhard Mikuskovics expertly playing them on three tracks of the album Universal Language, and he is a virtuoso on the Native Indian flute, xaphoon and shruti box. On one track, you can even hear him sing overtone.
Bernhard Mikuskovics has been active as a multi-instrumentalist for many years, focusing on the genres of world music, folk and medieval music. He heads the NAM ensemble and has founded Anamaneh, where he often plays jaw harps as well.
Famous as a master of social satire under the name of Gunkl, Günther has also turned out to be an expert on the tenor or baritone saxophone. In 2009 he gave the LOOPING jaw harp orchestra a number of heartfelt contributions to the album Elephant Road, e.g., for the track Weites Land.
In addition to his solo performances as a political humorist, Gunkl, as a musician, backs fellow comedian Alfred Dorfer, primarily playing electric bass guitar.
Whatever you need – just ask Ernst. He’ll give you rich, warm notes on his bass clarinet as well as fantastic rhythmic or solo accents on the soprano clarinet, baritone and alto saxophones. And how about a more experimental touch? Ernst Reitermaier will provide that as well: whenever you seem to hear squeaking doors, strange wind sounds and clattering, or static on the radio, that’s Ernst. He joined the LJHO in 2009 and has contributed to both Elephant Road and Universal Language. He is also involved in other musical projects (e.g., Vegetable Orchestra and the Institute for Transacoustic Research) and is active as an organiser of festivals.
Dominik J. Richter
Since late 2013 percussionist Dominik Johannes Richter joins the LJHO. He keeps us together with cajón, frame drums and didgeridoo grooves. He also plays the jaw harp. Dominik is part of the Ensemble NAM, too.
Peter H. Thomann
If you happen to hear a jazzy sound, this would be Peter H. Thomann on soprano or alto saxophone. A member of the LJHO since 2009, he has contributed what he calls visible jazz to many tracks of Elephant Road and Universal Language.
Peter has cooperated with numerous renowned artists and also has his own band, the monochrometone.
It was the trumpet played by Boris Wokurka which gave the album Elephant Road its name. On stage he will use his electric bass, too. (We call it "very big bass jaw harp".) Boris has founded the band Panchromatic Resonance, where he plays guitar as well.