(Emanem)

If an ancient piano is like a grandpa narrating a whole life of experiences and lots of war stories, then a Ruined Piano (“…abandoned to all weathers and become a decaying box of unpredictable dongs, clicks and dedoomps…”) is a dying being whose body is giving to Eternity the secrets of an apparent incongrousness, which only after the end is finally understood to be a gathering of essential principles of harmony and resonance. Ross Bolleter is an authority on this kind of instruments: a member of WARPS (World Association for Ruined Piano Studies), he travels in search of such wrecked machines, improvising on the spot (“…a Ruined Piano should ideally be an object trouvé…”) so that we can easily define these tracks as “field recordings”: birds, environmental presences and Bolleter’s intense breathing are parts of the whole. The 28-minute title track – referring to a painting by Timmy Payungka Tjapangati, an artist from Papunya who was one of the founders of the Western Desert art movement – is a different kind of animal, as Anthony Cormican’s Pro Tools-based studio treatment transforms the plonks and the thuds in impressive dark vortexes of deep reverberation amidst noiseless areas of quiet uneasiness, in what’s maybe the most “acousmatic” piece ever released on an Emanem disc. The remaining segments contain different seeds of memories which somehow would like to be framed by the decomposing woods, and that can sound like a toy forgotten in an old house (“And then I saw the wind” comes to mind) or recall disrupted chorales mutating into hollow metal clusters. It’s a great collection, if one’s receptive enough to understand the spirit of this researcher. For many people this could be a tough test, but those who pass will be thankful for their persistence.

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