Listen to Erik Griswold use rosined strands of fishing line on his new extended work for piano


Erik Griswold is a composer and pianist originally from San Diego, and now residing in Brisbane. He performs as a soloist and in Clocked Out, an experimental music interarts & intercultural collaborations company he runs with percussionist Vanessa Tomlinson. He’s also released a number of solo releases on Brisbane’s Room40 label, including his Wallpaper Music series, which sees him preparing every note on the piano, in effect retuning the instrument quite dramatically.

We’re big fans of Griswold’s work. You can read his Cyclic Selects here. He has just released the first taste of his fourth album in his Wallpaper Music series, and it’s a remarkable hypnotic work of extended technique. He explains it much better than we ever could:

“Returning to the Wallpaper Music series after 13 years, I wondered how I could extend it, when I had already altered the sound of the piano beyond recognition in volumes 1-3. I knew I wanted to create a really unusual sound, and to create a durational experience that would stretch one’s sense of the passing of time….In Wallpaper Music 4, I use 11 “bows” (actually rosined strands of fishing line) to build up accumulating layers of tones across the piano – a giant, pulsing chord. There is an organic quality to the sound; within each tone is a detailed world of grain, texture, shifting harmonics and strange undertones. I introduced a slow breathing cycle into the sustaining notes, using an arithmetical pattern – 6 bows / breath / 5 bows / breath / 4 bows / breath / 3 bows / breath, 2 bows / breath, and then the reverse. I used prime numbers to offset the lengths of the rhythmic cycles, ensuring that each would be always out of sync with the others, creating constantly new relationships.”

Wallpaper Music IV is released on the 13th of November 2020 on 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.