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May 23rd, 2019


Michael Pisaro - Ricefall

Much of the music of composer Michael Pisaro has a distinctive clarity to it. Whether he's writing for piano or sine waves or field recordings, his is music that the light shines through. I'm not really sure how his Ricefall fits with this.

It opens with silence. Rather an uncomfortable length of silence in fact, enough for any home listener to start checking cables and connections. But then a grain of rice falls onto an amplified surface, and then another and another. The rice falls onto ceramics and woods and metals and papers and leaves, and for a while we might almost stand a chance of identifying individual grains. And then the torrent starts.

What you have with Ricefall is the most devastating and accurate sonic representation of a rainstorm ever presented. If you've ever sat beneath canvas while rain and hail lashed around you you'll recognise the feeling of being sat inside this sort of performance. It's raw, elemental violence, and while there might be a break in the clouds part way through you don't get the light you've been so desperately seeking until right at the end. It's safe to come out now.

This recording comes from Håkon Stene's 2014 album Etude Begone Badum.

Michael Pisaro - Ricefall