ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Transmission
WORKS: Works by Táár, Yeoh, Schmool, Bengtson, Nakas, Nancarrow & Warren
CATALOGUE NO: pcd 003 (distr. www.pianocircus.com)
The six pianos (acoustic and electric) of Pianocircus offer composers the chance to create unique textures and sonorities. Erkki-Sven Tüür’s Transmission makes full use of the medium, in a strenuously effective sequence of shifting soundscapes. Nikki Yeoh’s Six as 1 piles up jazzy riffs one on top of another, then stops. Barak Schmool’s Stolen Train enriches the mix with added sounds including a drum track, police radio conversations and a typewriter. Peter Bengtson’s Carillon creates a wholly new and strange soundscape through the use of microtonal tunings. Sarunas Nakas’s Merz Machine sounds highly systematised, with insistent interlocking repeated patterns. Huw Warren’s Riot! uses percussion and inside-the-piano sonorities to enhance its pounding rhythms. There is also an arrangement by David Appleton of Conlon Nancarrow’s Study No. 5, perfectly reproducing the dry, hard sound of the composer’s player-piano, and ending with an astonishing flurry of collective virtuosity; the disc could have done with more Nancarrow as contrapuntal relief. The playing throughout is superb; the presentation is minimal, with more promised on the Pianocircus web site; the recording, produced by the group in its own studio, makes everything clear at very high volume. Be warned: you may like this more than your neighbours do.