REINHOLD FRIEDL – Music For Piano, …Spring / Flower / Cracker / Stream

Holotype Editions

The press release calls the album’s title “enigmatic”. However, after noticing that all the tracks reveal their instrumentation I couldn’t help recalling Reinhold Friedl’s scathing response to a lackadaisical appraisal of a Zeitkratzer record, in which the writer – a musician – had repeatedly misidentified sources and structures. Did Friedl decide to particularize what was employed in these four compositions to avoid himself further wasting of precious time via additional educational missives? We’ll probably never know, but fantasizing is not forbidden (yet).

Technical details – and kidding – aside, this is a compact, intelligent and ultimately convincing set. For accustomed ears, the idea of a piano emitting the kind of sonorities found herein is not entirely avulsed from a (peculiar) normality; still, “normality” has another meaning when one takes a look at certain names in Friedl’s curriculum. Alex Von Schlippenbach, Mario Bertoncini, Phill Niblock, Elliott Sharp. Just saying. Studying and performing in such honorable company is not the stuff of everyday; if you add the protagonist’s renowned zest for snatching the unusual from the jaws of convention, everything becomes instantly clearer.

There’s innovative pianism and sensible innovative pianism. This effort shows diverse perspectives of the piano innards through a relatively restricted number of approaches, as opposed to a bazillion of bell-and-whistle tricks. It digs deep into the harmonic richness of each of the instrument’s components. You’ll hear twitching pitches, metallic bouncing, canorous thuds and sliding strings alternated with crystal-clear notes, mind-realigning upper partials and singular percussive nuances. Then, of course, resonant noises and subtle drones. In a nutshell, a mix of tonal fragmentation and “ethereal concreteness”: a close approximation of the indescribable vibrating wholeness that the egotistically limited necessities of men will eternally associate to ultramundane plannings, in lack of serious non-verbal brainpower.

But it’s just sonic consciousness. Laughably theatrical theories are destroyed as uninfluenced witnesses receive a considerable amount of answers. Herr Friedl surely knows what this means; the inside piano world is his oyster.

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