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ARTIST
TITLE
Piano Mating
FORMAT
LP

LABEL
CATALOG #
XRAY 004LP XRAY 004LP
GENRE
RELEASE DATE
6/17/2016

Clear 180-gram LP in screenprinted sleeve. Limited edition of 500. The two side-long pieces on Mats Gustafsson's Piano Mating sound like two holes puncturing the fabric of reality; holes that disobey laws of time and space; black holes, even. The pieces are pure, simple-sounding, slowly ascending drones that feel convincingly like conveyor belts for the soul. X-Ray Records asked Gustafsson to compose an album using an instrument with which he'd never recorded before. He responded with one of the most bizarre instruments ever, the Dubreq PianoMate. It's a synthesizer from the 1970s designed to be operated in conjunction with a piano, but Gustafsson here manipulates the machine on its own to wring out strange, expressive sonic prayers. "Microtonal electronic maracas is perhaps an apt description," says Gustafsson. "It is just a totally different beast compared to anything else I ever played. The PianoMate does whatever it wants really. But I can control pitch and volume and detune it while playing. The microtonal clusters that it offers are highly inspirational to work with and really something that is quite hard to achieve on the saxophones. And I just love the sound of it. That color really kicks my mind and ass." Compositionally, Gustafsson let the unique restrictions and limited tonal palette of the PianoMate guide him rather than attempting to bend the unwieldy instrument to his will. "Making this music was a lot about creating a specific state of mind. Letting the music take over," he explains. "Letting the sounds create the music. Slow. Listening for it and going for it. Never pushing it. Hard to describe, actually. And of course, part of the mystery of it all." Although he admits he rarely listens back to his recordings once he's finished with them, Gustafsson says that Piano Mating has brought something new and indefinable to his iconoclastic music. "I really hear very different things every time I listen back to these recordings. I found them still very surprising and, funnily enough, very inspirational to me. In my sax playing, I get a lot of inspiration from listening to the PianoMate. I love my PianoMate! -- there should be one in every household!!!"