“Prepared” piano is perhaps putting it lightly. There are moments where the piano sounds like a pile of splintered wood, ivory shards and loose strings diving in and out of the mess; strings buzz and try to wriggle out of a sandwich of glazed maple, while accidental languages of overtone start to emerge from Schmoliner’s boisterous rewiring of the piano interior. But the piano is still there, if only in part. Rich, clunking low notes trace momentary lines back to the instrument of origin, as particular notes manage to emerge unscathed from Schmoliner’s preparations – little pockets of intact mechanism in amongst the rubble of broken texture.
One can imagine her encircling the instrument like a pathologist at an autopsy. At some angles, it’s a clattering drum kit that sounds like a clock shop during an earthquake; at others, it’s a gigantic violin whimpering into a lonely, empty room (which disturbingly resembles an animal wheezing on the edge of death). Perhaps there’s a stool by the keys to denote where the player should position themselves, but perhaps not. The piano becomes a device for which there is no correct orientation nor mode of interaction, and Schmoliner alternates between the roles of liberal percussionist a botched, junkyard adaption of the traditional concert pianist, attempting to play her instrument “properly” in spite of the fact that the instrument has ceased to be “proper” itself.