Piano Circus - Transmission

Variety spices up Piano Circus’s life – an entertaining and engaging disc

Author: 
Guest

Piano Circus - Transmission

  • Transmission
  • Six as 1
  • Stolen train
  • Carillon
  • Merz Machine
  • Studies for Player Piano, No. 5
  • Riot

You could never accuse Piano Circus of doing things by halves. This latest release on its own imprint is an entertaining traversal through seven varied pieces which‚ even in the 13­minute opener‚ manage to avoid outstaying their collective welcome.
Erkki­Sven Tüür’s Transmission descends through chromatic space into washes of resonance‚ before emerging in a new rhythmic complexity over driving ostinatos‚ its harmonic clarity and pungency never in doubt. Nikki Yeoh’s Six as 1 incorporates syncopated melodic writing over an interlocking boogie bassline‚ with a gamelan­like quality to the harmonic writing. Barak Schmool’s Stolen Train pits its desynchronised pianism against a percussive offbeat and train station samples – a typewriter adding to the fascination of the title‚ if not the music. Peter Bengtson’s Carillon devolves its undifferentiated sound into exquisitely layered masses and filigree textures‚ though the timbrel distortion verges on the gratuitous.
Punchy overlapping staccato chords and charging downward runs dominate Sarunas Nakas’s strident Merz Machine‚ which keeps going in spite of its apparently arrested momentum. Conlon Nancarrow’s Study No 5 sounds almost playful in David Appleton’s effective arrangement of the player­piano original‚ though its rhythmic dexterity is formidable. Huw Warren’s Riot! uses the panoply of piano techniques – keyboard and otherwise – in a stylised representation of its title. The succession of tight rhythmic modules piles on an intensity which is both cumulative and purposefully excessive.
Detailed background notes on the composers represented – promised on www.piano circus.com – were not on site at the time of writing. Forwardly‚ even aggressively recorded – as have been Piano Circus’s previous independent releases – this disc will delight their fans‚ and has enough variety within the post­minimalist perspective to attract new listeners.

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