Boomkat Product Review:
For his second album on the Spekk label electronic musician B.G. Nichols has collected a number of piano samples from friends and fellow artists Linden Hale and Keith Berry, feeding them through his sampler and subsequently adding transformative digital textures. First impressions place the project as lodged somewhere between the rickety loop-based tracts of WIlliam Basinski, Tim Hecker's overdriven soundscapes and the post-Piano workouts of Kenneth Kirschner's collaborations with Taylor Deupree. Nichols' treatments are always heavily reliant on digital processing, occasionally sounding rather brutish in their handling of the acoustic source sounds, but for all their restless mauling, the keyings tend to be left audible and in tact to the point where melodic fragments are discernible through the rubble. Truth be told, there are a great many records released under the microsound umbrella that perform similar undertakings to this one, and while Nichols' music is compelling and more often than not very skillfully rendered (pieces like 'Opale 3' and the glorious 'Opale 7' inarguably harbour a rare emotional resonance), the sheer surfeit of processed piano albums leaves Opale's impact somewhat muted. Nonetheless, Nichols' contribution to the genre is a worthy one, able to hold (if not fully inspire) even the weariest listener's ear.