Tuesday, August 16, 2005

More Than My Old Piano

Speaking of old pianos and Australia, I'd be wrong not to mention the work of pianist/composer Erik Griswold.

An American living in Australia, Griswold is one of the few composers to continue working and extending the music for prepared piano. Griswold's music goes further than that associated with likes of, say,
John Cage and at the same time is able to achieve an amiable accessibility. If you dig Kronos Quartet and/or Piano Circus, then Griswold may be just your cuppa tea. Strangely, I discovered Griswold by listening to a broadcast over WFMU --a great radio station!

There's two CD's of Griswold's (piano) music that I think are especially good: "More than my old piano: music for prepared and toy pianos" and "Other Planes". The first is an imaginative mix of materials --such as musical elements derived from the musics of China, Cuba, Brazil, and improvisational jazz. Here is the Cuban derived "
Guagauanco" (mp3 file). On "Other Planes" what catches my ear is his ability to coax from the piano a kind of ventriloquism. Here's "Bass Plan" (mp3 file).

Recently Griswold has put out some good stuff with percussionist Vanessa Tomlinson. Together they're known as "Clocked Out Duo". The album "Felaminikuti" is full-on good listening. They describe it this way: "Felaminikuti began Clocked Out Duo's foray into the world of small sounds. We started out using all manner of pocket sized keyboard and percussion instruments and soon expanded into $2 electronics."

Here's an excertp of their re-working of "
This Land is Your Land" (mp3 file). Their version is a kicky crazy toy piano/percussion good thing . Not exactly Woody Gutherie and Odetta, but it ain't bad at all. Check 'em out.

More about Clocked Out Duo and their available recordings is found

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