If I wasn’t informed in advance that I’m hearing a piano (albeit with the output stretched and twisted out of its original shape), would I have been able to deduce this independently? Does Piano’s Abyss carry me deeper into the identity of the instrument, or does it obliterate the identity of the piano entirely? Both. At certain points, I sense that unmistakable piano warmth; the rich hum of the string just after the hammer has struck, ricocheting off wood and swelling into the body of the instrument. At others moments, I puzzle over drones and pulsations that could have originated from anywhere, so estranged from their source that all reference points become abstract. I’m drawn to images of the serene glide of orbiting planets. Crepuscular sunbeams coming through the blinds, cutting diagonal lines across circulating bedroom dust. A precipitation of metal droplets upon glass.
What’s wonderful is that, during the moments where I’m dragged into voids of unearthly drone and surging noise, Yershova often introduces an actual piano melody. Unprocessed, untampered. The vivid sound of fingers depressing keys in fluid, emotive sequences. When Yershova senses that I am most lost, she dangles a thread that leads all the way home again, tracing a path back to the piano I warmly recognise. Given that some of the more heavily processed soundscapes can feel hostile – hissing in dissonant alien breaths – the presence of a familiar piano timbre can feel like a hand of reassurance. Her melodies dance amidst the strange waves, sometimes mournfully spellbound by their tidal surges and stormy sibilance, and sometimes enrapt in states of jubilant, energised arpeggio. I hear piano as solid object, piano as liquified ambience, piano as vaporous phantom.