Cor Fuhler

Stengam
Potlatch P206

Best described as a reductionist nocturne, Stengam, a solo piano outing, is more hypnotic than harmonic. Featuring one continuous 20-minute performance, plus two shorter introductory tracks, the CD highlights the talents of Dutch keyboardist Cor Fuhler who uses such stimulators as e-bows and magnets to transform the sound of an acoustic grand piano as if electronic add-ons are altering its function.

Without overdubbing, yet in full control of the instrument’s keyboard, strings and soundboard, Fuhler’s internal action include buzzy scratches with affiliated resonations so that each string’s overtone reflects back on the externally sounded note. Similarly, plucks and slides produce wave-form-like hisses that resonate like tam-tam timbres, prolonged by pedaling. Widely spaced, low-frequency drones vibrate powerfully, but are weighed just so in order not to mask the dynamic cadences or guitar-like resonations above. One standout is “Ferrous”, which in performance is more buoyant than the title would have you believe. This 12-minute, crepuscule portrait resonates with repeated drum-like textures and fluttering oscillations, yet attains a delicate calm at its climatic finale.

Moving unhurriedly from glistening, strummed arpeggios to sharper, dynamic chords throughout the CD, Fuhler delineates a uniquely constructed, hermitic yet fascinating sound world. Overall, he demonstrates that with proper spatial organization unexpected, sustained tones from inside and outside the piano can be structured to create organic coherence.

— Ken Waxman

For Whole Note Vol. 12 #8