PYANOOK, Grand Piano reinvention in the digital age.
The blend of analogue and digital sounds is no new feat in modern compositions, but few artists have taken this musical symbiosis as broadly and deeply as the pianist Ralf Schmid in his newest project, PYANOOK. While technology is often employed in acoustic pieces on a post-production level, to modify or add layers to existing sounds, Schmid employs it from the inception – at the composition and performance of his pieces. To do so, he turned to a special and groundbreaking piece of music technology, the mi.mu gloves, which allow him to digitally manipulate the sound of what he plays on the piano instantly by his hand gesturesonly. This live interaction of instrumental virtuosity and technology didn’t just result in an album, but also in a much wider project and direction for Schmid giving birth to the pianists’ new persona and alias, PYANOOK.
The search for the essence of sound and the exploration of its limitless possibilities has animated much of Ralf Schmid’s earlier work. He has worked with wildly diverse artists such as Herbie Hancock, Whitney Houston or Daniel Hope, directed large ensembles and choirs, and collaborated with trumpeter Joo Kraus to produce albums which are a true testament to his openness towards music. With PYANOOK, Ralf Schmid opens up the piano itself and sets free its soul and potential.“ I discover magic, choreography, poetry in the interaction of humans and Machine.”
PYANOOK marks a new chapter on an ongoing voyage that doesn’t seem to be halting anytime soon, “It’s a futuristic way to play an instrument of large tradition. It’s the travelogue of my ongoing grand piano expedition,” he says,” There are so many sound possibilities left ‘on the way’, so many discoveries of new performances developed while performing, so many recommendations for newexciting tools. I feel this work has just started and deserves more exploration.”