for rei as a doe
Reviewed by Julian Cowley, The Wire, 10/2014
"Edinburgh based composer Michael Edwards wrote this music for pianist Rei Nakamura. It is a luminous and meditative duet with computer software, designed to emphasise the piano’s resonant properties and, in the process, to set a challenge of balance and restraint to a performer known for her dynamic virtuosity. On this recording the piece is executed with the required poise and sensitivity by Karin Schistek, an associate of Edwards from the improvising group Lapslap. The slow unfurling of For Rei As A Doe is even and steady, but Schistek’s nuanced colouration of individual notes and chords, and the variable pulsation of the digital halo that radiates around her performance, bring an absorbing source of interest to the music’s cool progress."
for rei as a doe
Reviewed by Eyal Hareuveni, All About Jazz, 20/12/2014
"Michael Edwards is a British composer, based in Edinburgh, who developed a range of musical computer techniques ranging from real-time digital instruments to self-contained, algorithmic environments. His composition for piano and computer For Rei As A Doe, was originally written for Japanese pianist Rei Nakamura and reflects long years of practicing the vipassana meditation. It is a slow and quiet piece, in which silence has an equal role to the piano or subtle, minimalist electronics. The pianist, Austrian Karin Schistek performs with great focus and precision, letting the piano's resonating sonorities blossom organically to emphasiza a sense of silent meditation and serenity. The sense of time, or pulse, is forsaken for reserved, spatial, almost uniform, playing. The piano and computer parts were created by Edwards and specially-designed algorithmic composition software, with details featured on his website. The composition is conceived in four voices. One is for for each of the pianist's hands, and the other two for the high and low voices of an analogue synthesis emulation, played back from the computer and mixed with various sound files (some algorithmic, some ambient) in four channels. Edwards, who also recorded, mixed and mastered this unique sonic journey, has succeeded in structuring a deep, meditative 40-minute piece that is alive with warm colors and arresting, subtle dynamics."
for rei as a doe
Reviewed by Brian Olewnick, THE SQUID'S EAR, 20/5/2015
"Michael Edwards is a British composer who one might suspect, given the punning nature of this piece's title, to have a wry approach to his music but, judging from the release at hand, he seems quite serious — and interesting. The late work of Morton Feldman is an apparent reference point, with notable differences. A solo piano composition, (played here winningly by Karin Schistek) the music is subtly augmented by a computer program of Edwards' design called, ahem, Slippery Chicken. The music is spare and tonal, meandering (not in a bad way) from point to point, abetted by small urgings from the program. The key here is that those sounds are discreet, choosing to tickle and prod instead of equally accompany, much less overwhelm. They tend to be of a percussive nature, though tinkling like ceramic or bone, never pounding, only occasionally cresting to a mini-climax. They'll also supply background hums and breaths, as from turbines operating behind walls or in the distance. The piano writing may lack the incredible shadings of note placement and pitch choice in late Feldman, but it's perfectly enjoyable — serene and thoughtful, sometimes wending its way into unexpected corners. for rei as a doe is a fascinating work, presenting a new take on the interaction between acoustic and electronic instruments."