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Wednesday, May 24 2017 | 07:14
Image: 1610280 Blackstrobe present The Pianist the new album from Fabrizio Rat.

Tracklisting LP:
A1 - Lupu (4:34)
A2 - Michelangeli (5:14)
A3 - Horowitz (4:05)
A4 - Gould (3:40)
B1 - Aimard (5:31)
B2 - Pollini (5:41)
B3 - Argerich (4:39)
B4 - Rubinstein (4:28)

Static techno
Following two Eps, ‘’La Machina’’ and ‘’Technopiano’’, Fabrizio Rat releases his first album of hybrid techno, with an innovative sound palette. The Pianist combines the acoustic sounds and weird harmonics of his prepared piano with the acid loops of the TB-303 and the beats of the TR-909. « I’m much attracted by a certain type of techno, based on the purity of sound. This music can really approach abstraction, the immateriality of thought and ideas. » A track like “Aimard”, for example, is characteristic of his ambition. « It’s a sort of tunnel. It does not develop apart from a few ‘turning points’, in a similar way to lots of tracks by Jeff Mills, who has been a big inspiration to me for a long time. I feel attracted to his radical approach to techno and his taste of sonic exploration. Many tracks by him have an incredible character. As the records starts, you’re all of a sudden facing a new world. That’s exactly what I am most interested in, to find a strong vibe of a track, much more then constructing a form with evolution and surprises. » “Gould”, just before “Aimard” in the record, has the same strength but plays with rhythmic elements in a more subtle way. « It’s not really techno, but still hypnotic. The first version of it had lots of 909 in it, which has been little by little removed, following the advices of Arnaud Rebotini who coproduced the album and released it on his label. Arnaud pushed me towards a more
radical and extreme direction, putting the piano on the forefront and simplifying the rhythmical patterns, to be more effective. This gives to the final result more impact I think.»

Recipes for prepared piano
One of the main keys to understanding Fabrizio’s work is the preparation of his piano, inspired by the great Italian double bass player Stefano Scodanibbio. Avant-garde composer John Cage had initiated the “prepared piano” practice in the 40s by placing different types of objects (metal, wood, paper, wood…) on or between strings. The piano’s timbre is then altered into a more percussive direction, transforming pitch, intensity and resonance of each note. « I use for example packaging tape, which generates a sort of natural saturation while vibrating. I also use plastic rulers on the low strings, to generate a sort of white noise, and I struck small sticks on strings and tuning pins to create percussive sounds. I also use a lot blu-tac (Patafix), which I put on specific points of the string to obtain harmonics. I also use it to damp the lowest string of piano to produce a sort of kick-drum sound ».

Pianists trend
Fabrizio Rat is not the only pianist who tries to renew the approach towards the instrument. Over the last 10 years, interpreters and composers like Francesco Tristano, Nils Frahm, Hauschka, Guillaume Flamen, Grandbrothers and the Vanessa Wagner-Murcof duo have crossed the path of classical and electronic music.
Even if he appreciates some of them, Fabrizio moves away from that trend, to approach a much more radical techno. « I want to be in the loop, into the hypnotic process, and that’s it. I don’t want the instrument to be recognizable, people to say: « It’s a cover of that techno track on the piano » Eventually, I feel much more connected with artists of the techno scene like Ø Phase or Donato Dozzy. » Jean-Yves Leloup Available from 14.07.2017
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