AMN Reviews: Christoph Schiller – Variations

Christoph Schiller: Variations [at63]

This latest recording from Swiss composer/instrumentalist Christoph Schiller consists of an assemblage of seven improvisations for spinet, piano and amplified objects. The seven individual pieces function as constituent parts of a kind of canon, or linked sequence, of overlapping voices, each voice consisting in a sound source. Schiller recorded two improvisations each on spinet, objects and piano, respectively, and then layered them in order to create a suite of thickening and thinning sounds and textures.

The sequence opens with an improvisation for spinet alone, moves to an overlay of the two spinet pieces and then on to an overlay of spinet and objects, and continues in this vein until culminating with the second piano improvisation by itself. The sounds are sparse and organic, the creaks and scrapes of metal and wood punctuated at times by the resonance of tones from the piano or spinet. By virtue of the formal context Schiller creates, this democracy of sounds reveals itself to be, in essence, musical.