Listen to Alvin Curran’s Inner Cities from pianist Gabriella Smart’s forthcoming album


Gabriella Smart is an Australian pianist, composer, improviser and curator she has collaborated with the likes of Lisa Gerrard (Dead Can Dance), Brian Ritchie (Violent Femmes), Alvin Curran, Cat Hope, Derek Pascoe and Johannes Sistermanns, Brett Dean, Elena Kats Chernin, Erkki Veltheim, Jon Roseand, Paul Grabowsky and the list goes on. She has performed in the Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide International Festivals, MONA MOFO, TURA (Perth) and in Europe and China (Forbidden Palace Beijing, Shanghai Conservatory, Lyceum Theatre Shanghai). Her forthcoming album sees her performing 14 of American composer Alvin Curran’s Inner Cities over the course of a lazy 5 hours. If you don’t know Curran his 100 plus works have featured taped/sampled natural sounds, piano, synthesizers, computers, violin, percussion, shofar, ship horns, accordion and chorus amongst others.

My goal as always,” he said about Inner Cities, “was to reduce the musical elements to their ultimate essences, to repudiate and embrace dualism, and to emulate, even in permanent notation, the feel of spontaneous music-making.”

This is what Smart has to say abut it:
“My performance of Inner Cities comprises eleven of the existent fourteen pieces. Alvin commenced No 1 in 1993, and finished No 14 in 2013. The narrative of Inner Cities unfolds over five hours with the same visceral intensity as a desert landscape, revealed in all its beauty, brutality and rawness. It is at times uncompromisingly brutal: In No 10 for example, the pianist is instructed to improvise as fast and as loud as possible, on the edge of being out of control, and leading to total exhaustion. But the work is also rich in delicate sounds, as in No 1, where one note becomes a profound transition over a gently unfolding landscape.”

Inner Cities is released on October 2, via Room40. You can find it here.


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Bob is the features editor of Cyclic Defrost. He is also evil. You should not trust the opinions of evil people.