Extending the acoustic potential of an instrument intrinsically rich in countless nuances requires specific conditions, in which an artist can integrate mathematical rationale and unconscious gratitude to the environmental resources. Eric Griswold appears to have done exactly this in Wolf Moon, a 40-minute maelstrom for sixteen superimposed pianos not necessarily tuned to what the average ear would typically wish to detect. The tracks were recorded by the composer at Bruce Wolfe’s Piano Mill; you can easily learn about location, circumstances, and purposes by following the links disseminated here.
What you get is a mesmeric mass of peculiarly resounding components, vigorously uncontrollable and yet, in its own way, quite sturdy. Just to name names that are not necessary, imagine a merging of Lubomyr Melnyk’s virtuosic instances (relatable to the transcendental continuity of Griswold’s cascading arpeggios) and Charlemagne Palestine; think “cathartic liberation from mental waste”. On a rather oppressive morning for yours truly and not only because of the heat, this moment of inner respite was particularly welcome. We grasped the fundamental nature of the resonant core; envisioned multiple shapes within the reverberating accumulations; felt the sense of it all when, out of the blue, the cicadas around the house elected to amalgamate their 7.1 surround mantra to what was being diffused by our old speakers. Maybe they already knew the frequencies of Griswold’s music, and wanted to let us know.