Pleq & Anna Rose Carter: My Piano is Broken
Rural Colours

Pleq & Lauki: The Gravity Lens
Ephre Imprint

The music Bartosz Dziadosz normally issues under the Pleq name assumes an even more humanized form when paired with Anna Rose Carter's piano. He's, of course, the electronic composer from Poland who has released material on a number of labels, including U-cover, Basses Frequences, Impulsive Art, and others, while Carter hails from the south coast of Wales and issued her debut album Silver Lines on Clem Leek's Schedios Records label. As pretty and elegant as it is classically refined, Carter's playing exudes a melancholic strain that gives the EP's five pieces an affecting emotional impact, while Dziadosz surrounds her playing in a thick web of atmospheric textures and glitches. Strip away Pleq's whirring clusters and the gracefully rippling runs of “A Mirror Sitting” could pass for a Michael Nyman piano ballad, and like her better-known counterpart, Carter unites emotion and melody in powerful manner in these generally short pieces. On a project that includes the suitably pensive “Rain Again” and the plaintive “One Each” (which complements Carter's piano with Dziadosz's delicate guitar picking), connections might also be made between My Piano is Broken and the music of Library Tapes. The EP title notwithstanding, there's very little that sounds broken on this satisfying collaborative outing.

The ever-sociable Dziadosz certainly likes to play with others, as here we find him collaborating again, this time with Mikel Lauki, a Barcelona-based sound technician and composer who also operates under the pseudonyms f.ex. and Lupus. The Gravity Lens consists of a single, twenty-one-minute setting that hews more to the deeply atmospheric and textural style one generally associates with Dziadosz's Pleq project. That being said, the piece makes a strong emotional impact, in large part due to the string melodies that surface amidst the piano plucks and electronic textures. Though it's presented as a singular piece, it's also episodic, with multiple sections appearing along the way. At the nine-minute mark, keening strings swell into a crystalline mass that's quite lovely, until they're swept away by an episode of field recordings train clatter, fizzing vapours, and sparse piano accents. Heard next to the concise song-styled settings of My Piano is Broken, The Gravity Lens plays like an explorative exercise in meditative moodscaping characterized by the incessant ebb-and-flow of instrument fragments and noise textures. In keeping with Lauki's professed love for contemporary classic music, The Gravity Lens also exudes an overall classical feel that's matched by an equally heavy emphasis on electronic soundsculpting.

October 2011