All Strings Considered 
(2000) Realm Music - RM406  (CD only)

"All Strings Considered" is a recording that captures musical dialogues between two innovative hammered dulcimer players, Jamie Janover and Michael Masley. Check-out the music samples below.

Listen to Some of the CD (128k MP3):

Track 1: Raga Sutra
Track 2: Birds of Mindrise
Track 3: Mnemonic Harmonics

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Michael Masley invented "bowhammers" which is his own technique for playing the hammered dulcimer enabling him to pluck, bow and strike the strings simultaneously. Attached to four fingers on each hand, they are similar in shape to traditional hammered dulcimer hammers, except the striking surface is covered with horsehair, like miniature violin bows. They produce bell-like tones when used to strike the strings and violin-like tones when used to bow the strings. Michael also uses thumb-picks, which create the “plucked” string tones. He has recorded with artists as diverse as Ry Cooder, Butch Vig, Tom Waits and Zakir Hussain and is included in "Bakers Biographical Dictionary of Musicians -8th edition".

Jamie Janover has been playing the drums since an early age, and so has developed his own unique style of playing the hammered dulcimer based on his percussive techniques. He uses custom double-sided wood hammers for a staccato attack except on one track where he too uses the “Michael Masley style” bowhammers, for a bowhammer dulcimer duet (the first ever recorded). Both Jamie and Michael play custom extended range, fully chromatic instruments with dual damper pedal systems.

The combination of their diverse and unique techniques reaches far into new realms of the timbral universe, from cascading symphonies of sound to spacious ethereal ambiance. The music has an intuitive flow that helps the listener to travel to new realms through sound. "All Strings Considered" was recorded at 24 bit resolution, 48K sample rate. It was mastered using HDCD (High Definition Compatible Digital), which encodes 20 bit resolution into regular 16 bit CDs. If you play All Strings Considered on a CD player equipped with the HDCD chip, it will play back with a 20 bit-depth resolution, otherwise this CD plays back on all normal CD players at 16 bits with enhanced clarity. This exceptionally clear recording captures all the nuances of the original sessions and highly recommended  listening.

"All Strings Considered" Press Reviews :

"This album is billed as "hammered dulcimer dialogues," and that's exactly what you get from these two expert players...esoteric but innovative...a lush web of sounds, tones and melodies that seem to have no musical boundaries..."
--RELIX magazine

"two geniuses of the hammered dulcimer ....a record of superrefined acoustic dialogues, a record that enchants for its splendour and brings joy....Hit, stroked, plucked, the strings of the two instruments dance in an atmopshere of ancient times, producing liquid sounds and cascades of touching harmonic series...a marvellous union of harmony.
- Deep Listenings (Rome, Italy)

"Two hammered dulcimer innovators combine forces! Jamie Janover, veteran of hundreds of guest appearances with the likes of Phish, String Cheese Incident, and The Slip, possesses an uncanny musical intuition and the same goes for Michael Masley. Both are renowned for their original approach to their ancient instruments, and on this new CD, they take the instrument and the music itself to new peaks through fearless experimentation and seasoned ability."
-- Lee Crumpton - Home Grown Music Network"

"Nice while relaxing in a hottub with tons of light green aromatherapy candles surrounding you. Ever heard of a hammered dulcimer? Well, Jamie Janover and Michael Masley pluck, bow and strike this stringed instrument and creates a unique tranquil sound."

"Talk about different. It's not every day that we receive CDs featuring nothing but hammered dulcimers (?!?). The best part is that this CD contains some wonderfully dreamy instrumental music by two fellows who are intent on once again enlightening the public on the possibilities inherent in this ancient stringed instrument. Michael Masley has developed his own unique way of playing the dulcimer, and his efforts have paid off. He has played on recordings by Tom Waits, Butch Vig, Ry Cooder, and more. Jamie Janover has also made some impressive contacts, having played with Stanley Jordan, Bela Fleck, and others. Together, these gentlemen play like there's no tomorrow. Some of the tracks on All Strings Considered are soft and soothing...while others are strangely fast and furious. Particularly fascinating are the cool resonant tones of the instrument that come through crystal clear in these recordsings. This is a wonderful breath of fresh air for us, as we are always on the lookout for things that are unusual and unique. Eleven tracks, including "Ragasutra," "Mnemonic Harmonics," and "Twice Versa." Cool stuff... (Rating: 4++) "
-- LMNOP - On-Line Reviews (May 2001)

"No one who has spent much time walking around downtown Berkeley hasn't had Michael Masley capture their attention and imagination at one time or another, maybe even completely rearrange their priorities for at least a little while. Masley is a hammer dulcimer player who ocassionally sets up shop near the main enterance to the Berkeley BART station. What makes him so special is that he has invented his own way of playing. Most hammer dulcimer players use two wooden mallets to strike the clusters of strings that make up the instrument. Masley invented "bow hammers," which he attaches to each of his fingers. These allow him not only to strike (hammer) the strings, Masley can also bow the strings like a violinist or cellist! And he has eight of these tools, not just two. But that isn't enough for Masley, who also adds two thumbpicks to the mix, allow him to pluck at strings like a guitar player as well as hit, stroke and bow them. The resulting music is nothing short of amazing. It is ethereal, symphonic, and percussive; it is at once complex and accessible, invigorating and relaxing. Among his other talents as a percussionist and photographer, Jaime Janover is also a master of the hammer dulcimer, even if his approach is more traditional than Masley's. Anyone who has seen and heard Janover take on Jimi Hendrix's "Third Stone From The Sun" all by himself, or sit in with everyone from Phish to String Cheese Incident, from Dr. Didg to Leftover Salmon, or dozens of others, can tell you that. So what happens when you put these two talented men together with their dulcimers and listen to the completely improvise on 11 tracks? You get some utterly fascinating music, fit for so many occassions. This could be the soundtrack for a massage or meditation or what you use to turn your home into a symphony hall. If you want it to be pleasant background music, it can be. If you want it to take you all over the planet (there seem to be as many Asian influences as Western ones in the sounds) and to ride the lush, sonic textures deep into outer space, it can take you there, too. The title of the disc (a play on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered"), and other titles (such as "String Tease Coincidence"), not to mention some of the musical passages, reveals these men also have a great sense of humor.
-- da Flower Punk -

"A great piece of work (All Strings Considered)... the title made me laugh"
-- Bob Boilen, director All Things Considered

Portions of "All Strings Considered" have been airing on National Public Radio's program "All Things Considered" in 2001 & 2002!