All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

249

Cor Fuhler: Stengam

John Eyles By

Sign in to view read count
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.

Title: Stengam | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Potlatch Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

CD/LP/Track Review
Extended Analysis
Read more articles
 

Puzzle

Conundrom
2009

buy
 

PPP5

Conundrom
2009

buy
Stengam

Stengam

Potlatch Records
2007

buy
Cor Fuhler: Corkestra

Cor Fuhler: Corkestra

Data Records
2005

buy
Corkestra

Corkestra

Data Records
2005

buy

Related Articles

Read Ancestros CD/LP/Track Review
Ancestros
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 18, 2018
Read The Bitter Suite CD/LP/Track Review
The Bitter Suite
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 18, 2018
Read Ornettiquette CD/LP/Track Review
Ornettiquette
by Chris Mosey
Published: November 18, 2018
Read The Astral Revelations CD/LP/Track Review
The Astral Revelations
by John Sharpe
Published: November 18, 2018
Read The Sound Of The Earth CD/LP/Track Review
The Sound Of The Earth
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 18, 2018
Read Return to the Future CD/LP/Track Review
Return to the Future
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 17, 2018
Read "Celebrating William Parker at 65" CD/LP/Track Review Celebrating William Parker at 65
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: December 14, 2017
Read "One Night at Morey's: 1968" CD/LP/Track Review One Night at Morey's: 1968
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: June 10, 2018
Read "Flying Heart" CD/LP/Track Review Flying Heart
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 23, 2018
Read "Between Nothingness And Infinity" CD/LP/Track Review Between Nothingness And Infinity
by John Sharpe
Published: November 3, 2018
Read "Bowie, Berlin & Beyond" CD/LP/Track Review Bowie, Berlin & Beyond
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 13, 2018
Read "Live At The Magic Triangle" CD/LP/Track Review Live At The Magic Triangle
by John Sharpe
Published: January 13, 2018