Free Piano From The English North

by Stephen Grew & Adam Fairhall

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Adam Fairhall and Stephen Grew’s collaborative record for duel piano is an arresting and boundlessly creative document of modern improvised music. The simply titled yet curiosity inspiring ‘Free Piano From The English North’ is an album that privileges dialogue over unified playing. Both Fairhall and Grew have correctly taken the rare opportunity to record with two grand pianos to explore the huge parameters of sound two instruments of this character can make rather than any sort of mirroring gimmickry, creating a constantly shifting tapestry of audial brilliance. The sheer variety of musical techniques and moods on offer is exemplary of the huge playing experience of both pianist, with collaborations ranging from Evan Parker, Trevor Watts and Tony Bianco for Grew, Nat Birchall and Paul Hession for Fairhall. The fall-down bop of ‘Talke’, the spritely, jagged exchanges on ‘Slyne’, the tension filled spaciousness of ‘Nether Killet’ and the otherworldly accents of prepared piano rhythms of ‘Stone’ make any fears of listener fatigue totally disappear. There’s even the crisp waft of sheet music paper on ‘Salt Line’ and a drum pattern thumped into the wood casing of the piano on closer ‘Yealand Corners’, making it apparent that both players will draw on devices far beyond the keys to make a statement. Grew and Fairhall’s musical conversation is full of the multitudes of rhythm, tension, tone, inflection and vernacular of actual speech that even when both pianists examine similar melodic realms, they’re both doing so utterly in their own tongue. From the wondrously inquisitive tone of the album, one can only imagine they are questioning the stars in the deep night sky themselves.


released April 20, 2018

Stephen Grew and Adam Fairhall: Grand Pianos

*Adam is on the listener's left, Stephen on the right*

Recorded Summer 2016 at Axis Music, MMU Cheshire
Recorded by Anton Hunter
Mixed by Jason Woolley at Wanderlust Sound


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Tombed Visions Records Manchester, UK

Tombed Visions is a Manchester based cassette label specialising in sound art, ambient music, experimental electronics and improvisation and aims to showcase the fringes of contemporary independent music. All releases are limited edition and packaged with care, combining a love of graphic design, photography, typography with the wondrous sounds released. ... more

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