[8 March 2013]
Jeri-Mae G. Astolfi has been around for a while, born in Canada, a pianist, one who likes to get inside the instrument and assist her music by fooling internally. The traditional keyboard is not out of bounds, but she does not restrict herself. The six tracks on this album were commissioned by her from six different composers, and all of them modify her skilful piano sound to a greater or lesser degree, artificially, mechanically—very subtly and almost unnoticibly with a faint reverb in “green is passing” by Jeff Herriott, or by accompanying the keyboard with mangled nature-sampling in Brian Beleter’s “Summer Phantoms”, a composition that works over its own ideas of unsteadiness and erasure, sounds rubbed and scratched, clomp of stone in pond, the piano snatched in and out of the score, an adventurous track, fish-hooked with red-herring hints.
What is falling in the pond? What is buzzing? Should I imagine this water in a landscape? Should I picture solid ground? Tom Lopez wants to swagger away in the direction of fragments as well in “Confetti Variations” but the field recording behind the piano is so stoic and linear that it sabotages his attempt to detonate Brahms, though the switch from fireworks to rain is inspired. Sense of humour! But the anecdote is carried on too long—more punchline please.