Shades of Ivory / Bill Canty.
Shades of Ivory is, in all likelihood, very different from any other piano album you've heard. Bill Canty is a highly accomplished Australian musician who has played in everything from orchestras to rock bands.
Its multi-tracked arrangements and unusual playing techniques are partly responsible for this but what stands out the most is that many of the sounds don't seem to come from a piano, at least not a normal one. And whilst on that subject: all of the pianos are digital, not acoustic.
Composer and programmer Bill Canty is well aware of what typical piano music is, having played it for nearly fifty years. He's also very experienced at making music with synthesizers and computers, as well as editing sounds and programming some of his own software. For this album all of these skills were merged into the making of what could be thought of as electronically 'prepared pianos'.
Some of the sounds were left in their original state, that is, identical to acoustic pianos. But others were edited by Bill to create a wider palette without needing other instruments. Notes were made to start slowly instead of suddenly, or to sustain like an organ, or to flow together smoothly and with vibrato like a wind instrument, and much more.
Shades of Ivory is highly crafted and imaginative, full of little surprises for the attentive listener. The twelve five-minute pieces run seamlessly from one to the next by either overlapping or segueing, making a nonstop hour of spacious and atmospheric piano music.
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