Pahl, Frank - Music for Architecture

SKU Transmogrification 50300
"To the uninitiated, extended techniques (playing an instrument in a way not originally intended), like plucking a piano's strings or bowing a violin behind its bridge'may seem gimmicky or just plain ridiculous. However, certain extended techniques have been used in classical music for centuries, and they're often part of a modern jazz, new classical, or free improv musician's arsenal of skills. The new album from Frank Pahl'sound artist, score composer, singer/songwriter and instrument inventor, to name a few of his roles'entitled Music for Architecture is centered on the extended technique of prepared piano, which is most often associated with experimental composer John Cage. Pahl has a carefully tricked-out piano with objects'like bottle caps, coins and screws'wedged between its strings, giving him the ability the produce an astounding array of sounds, being a perfect example of the validity of extended techniques and how they can provide a greatly expanded sound vocabulary. With his prepared piano, Pahl generates percussion-like wooden and metallic sounds, unusual buzzes and rattles, and can even impressively approximate a gamelan orchestra. Pahl introduces a few extra instruments at certain times, like a melodica and a chanter, and lends some whistling on 'The Mid-Century Modern Waltz.' The 15-minute 'The Eero Suite' uses themes Pahl created for a documentary about the modernist architect Eero Saarinen, who designed the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, and it's the most varied, mysterious piece on the album, with a spacious second half that goes into Harold Budd-esque ambient territory. Music for Architecture has a constant focus on melody and a generally unwavering meter, often strolling through songs using straight eighth notes; the lack of rhythmic diversity may be puzzling, but it actually fits in with the album's architectural theme, suggesting a mathematical precision. The quirky yet inviting album is like a challenge Pahl has offered to himself, to foster creativity by concentrating on the odd instrument of prepared piano, conveying a playful, sometimes wistful spirit."

"A simple little record of prepared piano à la Frank Pahl. This project started as a prepared piano music commission for a short documentary by Ed Moore on Eero Saarinen. And turned into a research phase on the instrument. Result: a 15-minute suite for said film, and 16 short instrumental tracks, studio constructs where Pahl (a major composer for toy instruments, automatons and assorted gizmos), uses builds on John Cage's legacy to give to his finely naive art a different body. In the end, Music for Architecture is Pahl music first, prepared piano music second - we're even treated to a whistled melody or two. Very good and something different in the man's discography, like his collaboration with Klimperei (Music for Desserts) was."-Francois Couture

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