Ingrid Schmoliner: prepared piano
As she focuses on what happens inside the viscera of the prepared piano, the nearly scary centering of Ingrid Schmoliner’s eyes suggests that messing up with her is not recommended. Still, a sort of uncompromising poetry and a somewhat ruffled sonorousness get integrated in proportionate structures across the six tracks of this album, whose cyrillic translation reads as “Dwarf Suite” according to the computerized gnomes at Google. The Austrian pianist’s approach reveals total connectedness among the various stages of her individual artistic wholeness. Exactitude in the music’s mechanical consolidation, and the type of sensitivity that separates insightful legitimacy from accidental dabbling are manifest since the very first seconds. The clever choice of applying a condition to each episode – exploiting that option completely – repays the listener in full: no mistaken identities, no wishy-washy multi-genre winks or pat-on-the-back allusions. The opener and the closer – respectively titled “Stampa” and “Zampamuatta” – are potently rolling mechanism of percussive efficiency, colored just enough to let us recall what the original source is. “Grul” is a delicious mini-gamelan with carillon-like shades, whereas “Balaena Mysticetus” is perhaps the album’s top, a genuinely affecting rendering of whale singing in which Schmoliner extracts sonorities nearer to double bass and cello than you might envisage. “Бaбa-Яra” is a ceaseless finger race on the left area of the keyboard, while “Teadin” distils sliding subtleties and flimsy upper partials via an eBow. After this introductory meeting with an improviser conjuring up scents of Baba Yaga with such a grade of prowess, I’m truly willing to be a witness in eventual forthcoming sorceries. Or, if you want me to be really serious: Ingrid is the goods – go listen.