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ERR13: Albert van Veenendaal: Minimal Damage.

ERR13: Albert van Veenendaal: Minimal Damage.
ERR13: Albert van Veenendaal: Minimal Damage.
Label: Evil Rabbit Records
Catalog Number: ERR13
Availability: In Stock
Price: €14.50
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Albert van Veenendaal: prepared piano

1 The spy & the vampire (5:28) 
2 Tear dance (1:48)
3 Frog song (1:28) 
4 Mechanic mushroom (2:45) 
5 Pirouetteke (1:50) 
6 Daily values (1:39) 
7 Sea monkeys (2:46) 
8 Minimal damage (5:28) 
9 Old frogs (0:59) 
10 Histoire pneumatique (2:02) 
11 Whales (3:17) 
12 Goodbye pork pie hat (2:10) 
13 Dark days & the moon (1:50) 
14 Transition (2:00) 
15 Zen gardening (2:55) 
16 Slow boat (2:52) 

Recorded by Albert van Veenendaal, january - december 2009,  Amsterdam; 
track 13 recorded by Frank van der Weij, july 17, 2007  at Leroy Studio, Amsterdam; 
track 2, 12, 14 & 16 recorded by Micha de Kanter,  june 2008, at het Huis van Eustachius, Hilversum, the Netherlands 
Mixed and mastered by Albert van Veenendaal 
Produced by Hans Hasebos & Albert van Veenendaal 
All compositions by Albert van Veenendaal except track 12 by Charles Mingus � buma  
Design: Lysander le Coultre (strangelove creatives) 
Photography: Monique Besten 
Special thanks to Hans Hasebos, Tineke de Jong, Micha de Kanter, Monique Besten 
Total playing time: 41:19

prepared piano may be an acquired taste, but it's one i savor. on (1), van veenendaal is operating in a slightly different territory than, say, denman maroney or alexey lapin, since he's not at all afraid of electronic processing and overdubs. this gives his playing a more aqueous quality, and a wider range of sound. he uses it quite sparingly though, and is mostly confident in his pretty jaw-dropping technique to sustain this excellent set. (and for all the moments of dazzle and complex- ity, he's also unafraid to follow an ostinato or a simple rhythmic pattern to see where it'll take him.) sometimes (as on “tear dance”) he heads into bleep-bloop terri- tory a bit too unwaveringly, and the burbling intervals crowd things up just a bit too much. but elsewhere he can sustain a ballad (“frog song”) or use his prodigious technique to hold in balance multiple lines, textures, and directions (“mechanic mushroom”). he can also get downright sassy and funky in places (sounding on the title track almost like a prepared electric bass) and whips up some blues feeling on the clacking, spidery “histoire,” which sounds kind of like a tom waits back- ing track. this guy is a serious talent, and can make his instrument sound like everything from steel drums to spindly wire to deep flatulence in the abyss. oh, and to get a good sense of his technique and approach, you could do worse than to proceed directly to the wonder- fully abstracted mingus tune.Jason Bivins, Cadence.

there is something unmistakably mechanical in the way albert van veenendaal plays the piano. on “minimal damage”, his instrument is heavily prepared. in choosing this route, he placed what i can gather are rocks, wooden blocks, sheets of plastic, toys [who knows what else?] on the strings of the piano to give it a distinct voice. at times, the pianist massages the strings to give off a subdued, hollow sound, while elsewhere; the strings are manipulated in such a way that they sound cold and disconnected. in fact, some of the pieces have the piano sound mechanical. it’s as if a robot was playing the strings by a pre-arranged set of notes. all spacing seems perfect. on the title track, the strings take on a percussive oeuvre. with each pluck, the intensity becomes greater and more pronounced. then, on “transition”, veenendaal’s plucking of the strings remind one of a different string instrument – more resembling the guitar than the piano. surprising and innovative, “minimal damage” stands out as a rare occasion to hear the piano arranged with a lot of thought and care. Tom Sekowski