Somewhere The Sea And Salt
How did you conceive of the pieces on this disc?
The pieces for this album were improvised, although I had some preconceived structures for some of them. In some cases, there were combinations of objects or techniques that I wanted to place together or feature.
Which musicians inform your unique approach? I hear a bit of Zeena Parkins and Charlemagne Palestine.
I listen to a wide variety of music, from indie pop rock to avant-garde to free improv. I've actually always been fascinated by saxophonists and percussionists, including Jean Derome, Joane Hétu, Frank Gratkowski, Lê Quan Ninh, and Roscoe Mitchell. Their sensitivity and control, particularly over timbre, have led to some of the most entrancing performances I can remember. Along the same lines of creating an effect of layered and interacting sounds, Zeena Parkins' solo improvisations and Charlemagne Palestine are definitely at the top of my list. Living in Montréal, one of the best things was hearing all the local musicians - there was a concert of improvised music every night of the week. Everyone was open and supportive, and some of the most important things I have learned were from them. My first introduction to improvisation though was when I was a student at WLU studying with Heather Toews and watching my friends play together.
You tend to use a lot of objects inside the piano but it never feels gimmicky.
Two important factors for me are how easy it is to use an object and how readily I can reproduce the sound it makes. My favourite items are mallets - timpani mallets are a must - singing bowls, an e-bow, or two, and something called gorilla snot - for guitarists to hold their picks. I also just play with my hands inside the piano. I think of the objects in the same way I do the keyboard - the objects act almost as an extension of me. It's easy to make "different" sounds but learning to understand them in the same way as conventional ones is the most interesting aspect about that approach.
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