Review by Stuart Broomer on Point of Departure (December 2012)

Eve Risser plays piano, sometimes prepared, sometimes not, and she plays here in what looks like a traditional piano trio with bassist Benjamin Duboc and drummer Edward Perraud. It might look like it, but its conceptual architecture is utterly different. There are two tracks here – one long (“trans”: 34:51), one half as long (“chant d’entre”: 16:24) – and there is rarely a moment when the piano trio isn’t being reinvented as a wildly various drum. Risser uses preparation to reduce the piano to a fundamental identity: it’s not just a mirror of western tonality and an even tempered imitation of an orchestra. It’s a kind of string drum, or half string, half percussion instrument; at Risser’s hands, the piano becomes ambiguously one with drums and bass in a music that is devoted to the beat, the drone, the continuum.

On “trans” the music extends for a long stretch of time outward from the insistent polyrhythmic turmoil of Perraud’s drumming, absolutely detailed, acutely attuned to pitch, and in that web Duboc’s bass and Risser’s prepared piano seem like more drums, more insistent on a beat, a pulse so strong that it radiates outward, taking in every variation, every slapped bass string, every snare roll to itself. Risser’s genius consists in her willingness to match piano to drums and to bass, insisting on a uniform hammered cluster or interval or micro-figure. When Risser strips the piano of its temporary additions somewhere after the twenty-minute mark in “trans,” it’s to insist on a chord that differs from the preceding only in sounding unequivocally like a piano.

The same insistence characterizes “chant d’entre,” notable as well for its polyrhythmic density; until at the conclusion Risser’s repeated figures in the left and right hands demonstrate remarkable independence. It’s an insistence on trance and transformation, on “across” and “in between,” a focusing of consciousness that makes most music seem purposeless. This is a piano trio in which individual voices occasionally rise slightly to lead, but in which every convention from theme to solo has been erased in the unitary field of the beat.









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