|PROPELLER ISLAND'S PREPARED PIANOS
(Akai CD-ROM + compatible, disc 1)
The first disc, PROPELLER ISLAND'S PREPARED PIANOS, is a collection
of recordings of a piano whose sound has been mechanically altered.
There are now so many piano sounds on the market that it no longer makes
sense to offer yet another straight, pristine sampled grand. The idea of
these two CD-ROMs is to provide some really new sounds generated by this
hitherto pure and sacred instrument.
The concept of preparing pianos with mechanical devices isn't new (though
the concept of this CD is!), as John Cage's compositions have popularized
the idea of squeezing pennies, screws and various other objects between
the strings. If you are interested in this kind of experimental work, a
piano CD like this can save you a lot of headaches; it takes hours to perform
the preparations properly, and you may be understandably reluctant to mess
with the innards of your own precious instrument!
Another advantage is that I did 25 different preparations of the entire
range of the piano, whereas contemporary compositions specify only certain
notes to be prepared. The unadulterated sound of the grand piano is also
included, and by mixing the different preparations with the straight grand
you can perform most, if not all of the prepared piano set-ups in contemporary
scores. The spectrum of sounds is unbelieveable, from demented janglings
to soft, tuned percussion timbres. You can treat these sounds either as
new instruments or as sound effects, and use them to compose exciting new
music. One thing's certain - some of these sounds have never been heard
The original piano (mis)used for all the samples was a 2.10m Steinway
model C, recorded in the Berlin Academy of Arts through a Neve desk using
a combination of Neumann, Bruehl and Kjer microphones (culminating in 10
hours of single notes on tape).
There are no loops on the CD-ROMs. All sounds were carefully faded to
keep memory consumption to a maximum of 32 MB per instrument - there are
many 'smaller' pianos too. You will also find mono configurations and instruments
with reduced keyboard ranges for samplers with less memory.
Please enjoy the sounds and justify the hundreds of hours of work it
took to create them!
Sound design, programming and production by Lars Stroschen for PROPELLER