I'm pretty sure Francesso Tristano owns a piano, so 'Not For Piano' is a pretty baffling enterprise. That said, Tristano is not your average classical contemporary; his love of piano has led to an affection for electronic music and its infinite capacities, and this record sees the latter converted into the former: Detroit's finest tunes get reworked on piano, as do electronica overlords like Autechre. The record also contains a couple of Tristano's own compositions, showing the polymath at work.
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- Not For Piano by Francesco Tristano
6/10 Brian Staff review, 06 November 2014
I'll be straight with you. Unless pianos are played lower down the scale and sound nigh on funereally tragic or really high scale and dreamy ala Eno's ambient series then they quite often leave me feeling homicidal. This is a crazy man playing a minimalist yet schizoid array of piano styles which can surge from clanging exuberance into tentative hypnotic loops taking in fat Balearic bliss sunset chords to emotive lounge jazz or moody prepared piano abstraction. In around 20 minutes he has the whole gamut covered. 'Not For Piano' is a fucking right misnomer. All this album does is gleefully piano right along at an irresponsible rate with its fat grinning piano shaped face screaming "PIANO!!" into my face through a huge black and white megaphone shaped like a.....you guessed didn't you.
Shame I don't like pianos all that much, I think they look better when they're left to rot and grow moss in someone's back yard for three years after being hit mercilessly with hammers. But this Frank Tristan, he is undeniably a most gifted ivory tinkler and there are some moments on this record that are almost divine. Check out the stunning spots where he inexplicably throws in a fine dusting of gaseous electronics or even a contemplative synth, like on the gorgeous 'Andover'; this is where he lets the atmosphere of the recording space breathe a little. These clunky auld immovable bastards should be stroked, not punched. Then the daft blighter goes and ruins it all by bursting into another of those horrible raucous 90's piano tune-style chords and I want to stab him. With his piano.
If you're reading this wondering how on earth somebody can be so spiteful and ignorant regarding a perfectly well executed contemporary piano album then look no further than my employers. I meant every word. Arrrgghhh get off me, not the white coat again....
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