154

Andy Milne / Benoit Delbecq: Where is Pannonica?

By

Sign in to view read count
Andy Milne / Benoit Delbecq: Where is Pannonica? Occasioned by a commission from Chamber Music America's French-America Jazz Exchange and realized during a three-week composing/recording residency at the Banff Centre in Canada in 2008, this is a fascinating project, pushing the boundaries of the piano duo format. Using Steinway D grands that were often—mostly in Benoit Delbecq's case—altered with prepared devices (objects on strings) and alternative playing techniques (strumming or hitting strings inside the piano), plus manipulating sounds with five-channel effects, the subtle use of electronics and a Dlooper audio application on some tracks, the two musicians have created unique soundscapes while managing to maintain a dominantly pianistic approach. While the title alludes to Thelonious Monk and the poetic/mythic notes reference Muhal Richard Abrams as well as poets and others, the piano playing also evokes memories of some of the more cerebral solo piano excursions of Ran Blake, Bill Evans and Fred Hersch. This is an album that demands a quiet room (or earphones) for listening. The effects are often very delicate and subtle, the pianos on the slower pieces played with a spare intensity that allows notes to float and recede slowly. Some tracks—"Task Sharing," "Pyramides," "Water's Edge Part I"—are basically two-piano duets while others employ a panoply of altered piano sounds and electronic manipulations, from the wood block/marimba echoes and pluckings of "Divide Comedy" to the bowed-like drones, high-low contrasting textures and siren-like finale of "Mu-Turn." A metallic, vibes-like timbre and harp-like strums compete with percussive textures and plain piano on "Water's Edge Part II," described as "water slowed down by frost" while "Part I" is a lively duet with one piano playing a rolling modern boogie while the other swoops and swirls cascades of notes around the rhythm. The full 51:50 minutes is more than the sum of its 11 tracks, making for a very satisfying and intriguing recital. There are two multi-channel SACD bonus tracks and the 15-minute video, The Making of Where Is Pannonica?, is illuminating and fun.

Track Listing: Portrait of Giorgio Thelos; Task Sharing; Divide Comedy; Ice Storm; Le M

Personnel: Andy Milne: piano; Benoit Delbecq: piano.

Title: Where Is Pannonica? | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Songlines Recordings


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Lantern CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Unification CD/LP/Track Review Unification
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Crossing CD/LP/Track Review Crossing
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Unit[e] CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "TriAngular Bent" CD/LP/Track Review TriAngular Bent
by Dave Wayne
Published: September 22, 2016
Read "Flux" CD/LP/Track Review Flux
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 26, 2016
Read "Deep Memory" CD/LP/Track Review Deep Memory
by John Sharpe
Published: December 22, 2016
Read "Twelve Moons" CD/LP/Track Review Twelve Moons
by Phil Barnes
Published: August 30, 2016
Read "Romance 76" CD/LP/Track Review Romance 76
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 11, 2016
Read "One" CD/LP/Track Review One
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 31, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.