It’s Tom Waits who suggested that the piano had been drinking, but 176 aka Anthony Pateras and Chris Abrahams (The Necks) seem to want to work out what would happen if the piano took some methamphetamine.
Sorry to be sensationalist, but this is the most frenzied, ridiculous, totally insane album Pateras has released as part of his Immediata series. It’s a maelstrom of sonic activity with the duo are just improvising on each octave of the piano and then layering them over each other. It’s a wall of parts. A jarring hyperactive frenzy of split second notes forming together as an impenetrable force of nature. There is no nuance here. This is the trees, not the wood. Particularly initially. But then 20 odd minutes in to the single 50 minute piece, the density dips out – perhaps the players (or maybe even 3 virtual players) stop, leaving one and though its still ridiculously cartoon frenetic you can finally feel like you can get your breath back. And then of course it builds again.
It was recorded in 2005, and if anything it feels like a piano marathon. A test of will. The most wilfully insane experimental piano album you will ever hear. It’s also funny and kind’ve macho, two descriptions you don’t often hear when discussing piano duos. This is Ferrante and Tiecher doped to the gills running a piano marathon and getting busted by Ben Johnson. It’s that insane. I don’t know how this exists or who thought it made sense but I’m glad this madcap zany gruelling torturous feat of human endurance has appeared in our world. Experimental music needed this.