Sample CDs und CD-ROMs von PROPELLER ISLAND (Lars Stroschen)
(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 before.

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 ISLAND, 1995-98.