MAGDA MAYAS – Heartland

Another Timbre

Heartland – consisting of two long improvised segments from 2008, one recorded in studio, the other live at New York’s Roulette – stands among the few piano solo records heard in recent times that didn’t initiate the mild sense of “been there, done that” which by now tends to affect even some of the weighty statements released by the authority of extreme preparation. If you take a Google look at the images of what Mayas’ instrument typically contains, a literal bazaar – constipated by the most disparate materials and objects – welcomes your amazement. The Berlin-based artist approaches the performance with a precise structure in her mind, the hands looking to establish a series of hypothetical patterns within a relatively unlegislated macrocosm. Several distinctive features place the listener in unattended terrains, setting the music apart from “classic” experimentalism and attributing a trait of unprotected audacity to the playing that is really great to notice. A parallelism of semi-tuned irregularities, string-sliding and hard hits mesh with non-cosmetic notes on the “right” side of the box; a natural tendency to distortion – especially manifest in the sections where the amassment of frequencies begins to encircle the cranium and apply pressure – might elicit someone’s speculation about the use of pedals. A legitimately enjoyable album, bringing forth memories of eras in which the sheer gratification of discovery was still the innermost aim of an artistic quest and the unwritten imperatives of corporate avantgarde were ignored.

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