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."
for rei as a doe
Reviewed by Héctor Cabrero, Le son du grisli, 5/9/2014
"J’ai éprouvé un penchant pour la couverture du CD For Rei As A Doe, presque une amitié. La végétation ocre plie et les angles qu’elle forme sont cassés par des droites verticales composées sur ordinateur. On pourrait y voir la métaphore de cette composition « for piano and computer » de Michael Edwards, interprétée par Karen Schistek. ??Les références seront-elles maintenant toujours les mêmes ? Est-ce ce que Feldman,Cardew, Tilbury font désormais, et pour toujours, la loi ? Leurs fantômes s’échappent des enceintes mais Edwards a l’intention de leur tenir compagnie. Son ordinateur est un brumisateur de particules qui, lui, fait écho à Penderecki, Scelsi ou Stockhausen. C’est d’ailleurs pour cela que l’on suit le piano de Schistek d’un bout à l’autre de la pièce (quarante minutes, pas une seconde de plus). Et si l’on apprend que celle-ci a en fait été écrite pour Rei Nakamura, Schistek la porte avec une irrésistible nonchalance. J’ai éprouvé pour elle aussi une amitié, parce qu’en l’absence de son dédicataire, elle ne devait, et ne pouvait (selon mon estimation), que faire mieux que lui."
for rei as a doe
Reviewed by Aurelio Cianciotta, Neural Magazine — Issue #49, 2014
"Created using only a piano and a computer, this Michael Edwards release for Aural Terrains is impressive listening. Self-written software was employed in the compositional process and for the management of technical skills, modulating streams of notes in a very structured and quietist manner that is both restrained and evocative. Michael Edwards is no stranger to improvisation and the manipulation of real-time digital environments to create independent algorithmic compositions. Playing a song of this kind requires an extremely controlled and meditative approach: although the piece was originally made for Rei Nakamura, a virtuoso pianist with excellent (albeit more decisive and immediate) technique, the challenge was to work on the resonance of the piano in a way that is sweet but not at all new age. The software is designed to process four channels: one for each hand of the pianist and two more for high and low emulations of analogue synthesis, reproduced by the computer. The assignment of parts is determined by permutations of 24 possible variations of the four channels. Magical results abound in a work that is patiently improvisational, extemporaneous and poetic, contemplative and very musical."