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erik griswold - altona sketches
Erik Griswold is a master of the piano, but rather than simply play the standards he has instead decided that it's far more enjoyable to stuff the piano full of oddities; bolts, screws, paper, rubber strips, and bits of cardboard are placed, wedged or dropped on the strings to create the sort of sounds you might rather expect to hear from a Gamelan orchestra. It's an utterly unbelievable achievement that Griswold manages to prepare his piano in the manner, but it's even more unbelievable just how damn listenable the cd is. Very rarely does it breach the realms of total dissonance, instead keeping a haunting melodic core bringing to mind the accompaniment a dark circus troupe or sideshow. Griswold even peppers the disc with recordings of an old music box and prepared toy piano to offset the darker sounds with more humorous ones, yet even these retain a menacing and fiendish glow. This is one of my favourite releases on Room40 and really needs to be heard - if you're into unusual experimental music then buy on sight!