I built the majority of the instruments heard on Manque in the fall of 2008. A truckload of older instruments had gone east in the spring for a group of us to play at shows. Some of the players from the east were coming to live in Tucson, but the truck was staying behind. It had been suggested to and among us that we develop some kind of performance to go along with the collective improvisations we'd been doing, a way of demonstrating to first time players/attendees some of the possibilities encompassed by Anarchestra (and that we attempt to make some interesting music). Few of the people involved knew much about music, so the instruments I built were designed to demonstrate simple musical ideas. Most were diatonic in nature (previously very few had been) to narrow the range of tonal and timbral choices and allow the players to concentrate more on rhythm and phrasing (the basis of any coherent musical performance).
Sadly, the practice/learning necessary to develop a performance never took place and nothing we did as a group reached above the level of any random collection of people playing (in reality most subsequent random gatherings have played better music).
After the failed socio-aesthetic experiment ended, I felt I owed it to the instruments to make some music with them as a group. Manque is the result. The title derives from the several levels of “withoutness” that characterized the entire episode (the absence of effort on the part of my collaborators, that the instruments were being played without the players they were intended for, that the context of group interaction was no longer applicable, etc.) and the music itself (made without my general aversion to diatonicism) which to me expresses its own incompleteness.