249

Cor Fuhler: Stengam

John Eyles By

Sign in to view read count
Cor Fuhler: Stengam Since John Cage drew attention to (rather than invented) prepared piano in the middle of the last century, it has steadily gained in popularity and acceptance, to the extent that most improvising pianists give it some role in their repertoire and it even makes occasional appearances in popular music.

While many pianists mainly play the keyboard straight, and dabble with using prepared piano and/or playing inside the piano, Cor Fuhler takes prepared piano to another level. Every pianist has their own distinctive ways of preparing their piano; these include using such things as sheets of paper, telephone directories, nuts and bolts, lumps of rubber, paper clips... As this link shows, Fuhler takes the preparation of his piano very seriously—using e-bows, magnets (stengam, geddit?), and home-made gadgets—and the inside of his piano can get quite crowded!

Here, Fuhler only plays prepared piano. Consequently one could listen to this album and, for long periods, not realize that a piano was being used. Yes there are passages where the use of the keyboard is evident—at the start of "Stengam part 4, for instance—but otherwise you might believe that this is a small group performing on gamelan instruments, tone generators, percussion and strings with extensive use of electronics, such is the variety of sounds. But, extraordinarily, no overdubs, electronics or electronic improvements were used.

So, leaving aside the means of production, is it any good? Yes, yes, yes! Not only does Fuhler create a fine variety of sounds, he also puts them together in ways that are very listenable and satisfying. Lovers of eai and drones will find plenty here to enjoy. The opening tracks, "North-South and "Ferrous, are slowly paced and meditative, dominated by sounds like resounding gamelan gongs, on the second track metallic vibrations being overlaid. The remainder of the album consists of the ambitious six-part "Stengam. Although each part is fine—at least, engaging, and at best, gripping—there is no obvious overarching unity that makes them into a suite. Maybe that is provided by the methodology, as each employs extensive use of e-bows and magnets, resulting in sustained drones of varying frequencies.

Cor Fuhler has created a series of idiosyncratic and highly individual soundscapes, as convincing a case for prepared piano as you are likely to hear.

Track Listing: North-South; Ferrous; Stengam: part 1; part 2; part 3; part 4; part 5; part 6.

Personnel: Cor Fuhler: acoustic grand piano, preparations.

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Potlatch Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Peace and Love: A Tribute to Will Connell CD/LP/Track Review Peace and Love: A Tribute to Will Connell
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 28, 2017
Read Oaktree CD/LP/Track Review Oaktree
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: March 28, 2017
Read Green With Envy CD/LP/Track Review Green With Envy
by James Nadal
Published: March 28, 2017
Read Luma CD/LP/Track Review Luma
by Geannine Reid
Published: March 28, 2017
Read My Foolish Heart CD/LP/Track Review My Foolish Heart
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: March 28, 2017
Read Ha Noi Duo CD/LP/Track Review Ha Noi Duo
by Ian Patterson
Published: March 27, 2017
Read "Planet" CD/LP/Track Review Planet
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 28, 2016
Read "Abbey Road Sessions, Vol 1" CD/LP/Track Review Abbey Road Sessions, Vol 1
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 25, 2016
Read "Ears Are Filled With Wonder" CD/LP/Track Review Ears Are Filled With Wonder
by John Sharpe
Published: August 20, 2016
Read "Satori" CD/LP/Track Review Satori
by Chris Mosey
Published: November 1, 2016
Read "The Unity Sessions" CD/LP/Track Review The Unity Sessions
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 7, 2016
Read "North Star" CD/LP/Track Review North Star
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 2, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!