Xenia Pestova Bennett Makes Best of Bandcamp
Every two months, Bandcamp will feature some of the best composer-driven music to surface on the online music site, music that “makes room for electronic experimentation, improvisation, and powerful takes on old classics”. In this instalment, Ireland-based New Zealander Xenia Pestova Bennett makes the line-up.
“Bennett has been celebrated for her sensitive, rigorous interpretations of contemporary composers as disparate as [fellow New Zealander] Annea Lockwood, Alvin Curran, Hans Otte, and Gayle Young – both on standard piano and toy piano – but with Atomic Legacies she reveals a different side of her practice. Atomic Legacies features the ‘Magnetic Resonator Piano’, a modified keyboard instrument designed by Andrew McPherson that uses electromagnets installed above the strings of a standard piano to manipulate sounds using only the usual keyboard,” Peter Margasak writes for Bandcamp.
“Bennett has written a five-part solo suite titled ‘Glowing Radioactive Elements’, developed from loosely improvised kernels. Each section is named for a different element. While a couple of pieces were edited for length, there are no effects of overdubs in use – each movement toggles between pure piano sounds and manipulations that suggest bowing or various electronic treatments. Sounds smear, vibrate, billow, slide, and resonate in surprising fashion. In ‘Tritium’ a cycling two-note pattern is caressed and subsumed by tones that twinkle, swarm, and flutter. The album concludes with the title composition, on which Bennett is joined by the Ligeti Quartet. It’s a thrilling, episodic journey of moods and approaches that collide and reconcile, juggling portent and calm.”
Original article by Peter Margasak, Bandcamp, April 20, 2020.