Mats uses some of these rather unusual instruments below, together with percussion. electronic sound sources and reverberation, in order to create the meditative style of music you can listen to and purchase on this web site.
Hang is an instrument developed and built since 2000 by Felix Rohner and Sabina Schärer who together have the business PANArt Hangbau AG in Bern, Switzerland.
The instrument is the result of the many years of studies and production of Steeldrums, Gongs, Gamelan, and Ghatam/Udu drums by Felix and Sabina.
The Hang instrument is played with the hand ("hang" means"hand" in the dialect spoken in Bern) and you can play both melodies and rhythms.
Since Felix and Sabina build these instruments by hand it's currently quite difficult to find a Hang as the supply is far from satisfying the demand so the queue is long. Unfortunately we can't help you with a connection for purchasing a Hang and they are hard to get by. We suggest that you simply start googling if you are interested in finding information about this.
The limited supply of the Hang has opened up an opportunity for other instruments, whose makers until just recently did openly acknowledge they'd been built with the Hang as an inspiration. Mats doesn't have an actual original Hang, but rather uses several of this Hang-inpired group of instruments, like the Halo and the Bell.
The Halo is a similar instrument to the Hang built on the same basic principles as the original, but does sound a bit different. The Halo was developed drawing inspiration from the Hang "in pursuit of a creation with a new voice". It's built by hand, like the Hang, by Pantheon Steel.
Pantheon Steel have 2 different resonant models including the Halo Genesis, with a lower voice compared to the previously mentioned Hang, and the Halo Stratus which has a higher register. Mats uses the former.
Mats Jacobson says:
"It sounds like nothing else really. Completely acoustic, with no strings, yet every time wherever I go to play people approach me and ask where I've hidden the speakers and how it would sound without effects".
"Many, many people are enticed by the resonant, meditative and suggestive sound that sometimes resembles a harp, sometimes a drum and on occasion an analog synthesizer — yet at the same time like none of those"".
The Zen Tambour looks a bit like the previously mentioned instruments, but is actually based more on the principles of a Xylophone or Log Drum. It doesn't have the same overtone timbre as the Hang or the Halo, but it's a nice complement.
The Zen Tambour is available from Exotic Vessels.