Giuseppe Chiari – Gesti Sul Piano [LP]

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Giuseppe Chiari – Gesti Sul Piano [LP]

31.00

Label: Slowscan

Format: LP

Year: 2019

Two previously unpublished recordings from the archives of “the most important Italian Fluxus artist”, at least according to his own Antologia 1950–1970 CD at the time it was issued, Armed with early ambitions of being a jazz pianist in his back pocket and practicing under Fluxus precepts pertaining to the symbiotic relationship of daily life and art, Chiari developed a method of approaching the piano for the title piece that aims to explore the instrument under the guise of his “action music” methodology. This relies on the performer unusually articulating digits and contorting limbs over the entire instrument to exploit all possible outcomes of manipulating the object itself while ignoring the loaded techniques of conventional playing. In some ways it registers like the inverse of prepared piano, wherein the player must prepare (or unprepare) themselves as a means of interacting with the entire instrument on a full body, base level divorced from historical music. So this often sounds like someone performing Feldman with catcher’s mitts on and one or more limbs asleep, which is to say that there’s plenty of breath as Chiari ties himself into the next knot while painting a range of dynamics. Perhaps something of a hybrid between the two extremes of Philip Corner’s works on/for piano. Vocal cords also count as part of the body and are excitingly put to use. Mic placement is anyone’s guess here—the ‘74 performance on side two is firmly in fucked up territory, mostly a saturated, fried bias sucking chords out in the style of an overdriven built-in speaker keyboard—which is to say quite perfect on a Slowscan record.

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