Friday, September 25, 2020
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cover
Artist: Wintsch-Piccand
Title: Hipparchus
Format: CD
Label: Wide Ear Records (@)
Rated: *****
I can guess the reason why the imaginative pianist and composer Michel Wintsch and the inventive sound artist Benoit Piccard mentioned Hipparchus of Nicaea, the mathematician and astronomer who presumably invented trigonometry (firstly conceived as a sort of mathematical tool for astronomy... I said 'presumably' as an Australian investigation of a clay tablet found in Southern Iraq stated that the real inventors of trigonometry were the Babylonian astronomers), can be reasonably related to the importance of such a branch of mathematics for the analysis of sound waves and music in general. They also quoted a famous article by Edgar Varese entitled "The Music of Tomorrow" by which the visionary composer claimed a simplified declension of sound art based on a sort of oblivion of piano. What these Swiss sound artists seem to claim is the creation of an entire work, the one I'm reviwing and enjoying, by a device that manages to transform the piano in real time to the point they talk about an augmented piano, a piano that according to the linear notes by the label "reveals, in its secret corners, a world of fusion, phonic avalanchesm capricious trances, improbable hymns and underground rhythms, from which rise some notes redacted, regurgitated and washed away of any romantic pretensions". What I can say after the listening of this amazing release is that those words by the label are anything but hyperbolic or overly praising. The dynamics they forged while improvising is really stunning and often tickles listener's imagination. For instance on the initial "Napabe", you could have the feeling that these brilliant sound manipulators or piano hackers managed to transform the piano into a mechanical tool, sounding what you're going to listen something in between a jackhammer and a sledgehammer synchronously hitting the sonic sphere. On the following "Zoindeu deu", they seem to hack the regular timescan of a metronome by dizzy gallops on keyboards echoed by weird sounds like exploding pustules, boiling lava or riding on rubber stripes. The whacking clusters and the convulsive movements they derived from the initial electrical storms on "Vounepou" could let you think the shattered thoughts or emotions after an electrical shock, or the alternation of sneaking tonal hits on piano of "Vedonkpa" and dizzy echoes sound like a sort of stress test for the instrument, or the amazing strategy by which they seem to build tension in tracks like "Klounes" or "Ferla", that could let you think that there's something not totally left to random choices in their improvisations are only some aspects that are going to delight the more demanding lovers of musical experiments on the borders between avantgarde jazz, improvisation and genial madness. Have a check!

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