Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Pak Yan Lau and Lionel Malric, Duo Pour 454 Chordes

 

If you look at the cover above you can see why I might have had this on my "to listen" stack longer than I should have. It tells you less than usual about what could be contained within. Luckily I grabbed it this weekend and gave it a first listen. Wow! It is Pak Yan Lau and Lionel Malric on two prepared grand pianos doing inspired spontaneous improvisations they entitle Duo Pour 454 Chordes (el NEGOCITO Records 12" vinyl/CD or download Bandcamp).

They start with two Erard mini-grand pianos from 1903 and 1908, respectively. They prepare the pianos with thought and care and then create a series of rather glorious soundscapes while playing with the keys, bowing, strumming and picking inside the pianos, using various plectrums on the open strings.

What we get is seven ambient and evocative segments that show an enormously keen sense of sound color and adventure. It is a brilliant series of New Music-Free Music-New World Music contemplations-each one distinct, each one a fascinating and bracing fresh breeze of creative thrust. It may have been out for a while but it has a timelessness that makes it absolutely current for the world we are in and no doubt some future worlds as well.

Some have rhythmic pulsation, at times in a trance-hypnotic vein, all fill up the aural canvas with a keen sense of sound sculpting. None seem casually tossed-off or random in a non-Cagean sense.

It is a wonderful listen, landmark music for prepared piano! Very recommended.