Ingrid Schmoliner (AT)
Inspired by the saga of the Percht, a female pagan godess which appears on midwinter and whose origins reach back to the Stone Age, still present in the very remote mountain areas of the Austrian alps, this album of Ingrid Schmoliner is a suite of powerful prepared piano music. It is witch music in its best sense.
...And it puts a spell on you.
Starting with Stampa, a tribal trance beat helter-skelter, this music hits the listener with full impact. The following Grul with its bell-like sound preparations and fast movement creates a feeling of frozen and uneasy suspense and leads direktly to the last piece on Side A: Balaena mysticetus, which is the scientific name of the bowhead whale. And it is quite what this piece sounds like. Natural reverberation of stroked and bowed objects inside the resonance body of the Grand Piano recall the presence of an archaic living creature, fragile but of enormous size, calling through the sea.
Side B bursts in with another repetitive structure, a stumbling dance, named after the russian counterpart of the austrian Percht, the Baba Jaga. Not in an Mussorgskyan illustrative way, but caught in a hallucinating fever trip on a spiraling roller coaster. A punching, heavy sound without preparations, nor pitty is opening a clear view on the hitting shock that is imminent.
The following track Teadin brings silence and relief. On the record's longest track, the piano strings are resonating from sustaining Ebow impulses, layered to beautiful harmonies. With Zampamuatta, a reprise/variation of Stampa, the LP ends and the circle is closed.
A unique sonic language, distinctively and complex, a multilayered piece of art without any electronic treatments or overdubs. With artwork by Wendelin Büchler, inspired by drawings, scratched in the alpine rocks and custumes of the Percht rites in winter.