The latest album from composer Max de Wardener does what it says on the tin really being a collection of pieces written on detuned acoustic pianos and performed by Kit Downes. Surprisingly enough pianos aren't that easy to detune (or to detune in the way you want them to) so this was a labour of love for de Wardener who drew inspiration from the likes of La Monte Young and Harry Partch in making these elegant compositions.
Vinyl LP £19.49 VGLP063
180g vinyl LP on Village Green.
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CD £10.49 VGCD063
CD on Village Green.
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Max de Wardener has called his latest LP (and his second for the excellent Village Green label) ‘Music For Detuned Pianos’ and, guess what, it's a saxophone record... Only kidding! This new record sounds deceptively simple and elegantly streamlined, and it’s very pretty indeed. It’s ‘deceptive’ because, apparently, detuning an acoustic piano to make it sound as you’d like it to sound is quite a technical feat. So it's a relief to discover that de Wardener, as producer, and Kit Downes, as pianist, were both equal to the challenge. That it sounds so beautiful is certainly a marvel.
Sounding like a wonky Erik Satie record, mixed with the more melodic end of a Harry Partch experimentation; tracks like ‘Bismuth Dream’ and ‘Blueshift’ come across as a hazy dream brought on by a sun-dappled afternoon nap. The record is full of little moments which feel simultaneously familiar and very strange. ‘The Sky Has A Film’ reminds me of the train scene in Solaris (the remake featuring the Clooney bottom, that is) and the sad, plinky-plonky piano-soundtracked scene in the first Blade Runner. Just because, suddenly everything reminds me of sci-fi films, of course.
Meanwhile, ‘Deranged Landscape’ is just plain weird and ‘Colour Cry’ reflects a determination by the duo to use as much of the keyboard as possible, as quickly as possible, yet still sound ridiculously easy. Mission accomplished guys.
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