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It is really quite remarkable that all of Peter Manning Robinson's Double Helix was created through one piano / Fanfare

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Fanfare's  Colin Clarke writes.......The "Refractor Piano™" is the result of Peter Manning Robinson's time in the film industry, and the thought that what if the only sounds heard were of live instruments that only he played? How could those sounds be modified? The result is the "Refractor Piano™." Initial results were via Robinson alone, and rather ungainly. It was co-developer Klaus Hoch who suggested condensing the technology down so it could all be controlled by a Steinway. Six years later, the combination of hardware and software that is the "Refractor Piano™" was born: basically, the sounds of the piano are refracted through electronics to create new sounds. A "sound environment" can be created for each individual piece, as heard in this creative album, Double Helix.

It is really quite remarkable that all of this music was created through one piano, even if it was aided and abetted by cutting-edge technology. The eight tracks of the first disc are nicely balanced by the eight discs of the second, but there the music is performed on a traditional acoustic Steinway. It does come as a bit of a shock to hear "straight" piano if one goes straight from one disc to the other; the track Labyrinth of Petals is every bit as gentle as its title implies. The music here has a Satie-like simplicity (Fresh Light seems to particularly lean in this direction; its harmonies even seem slightly Gallic). The track entitled Enigma is soft-edged jazz harmonically, with an "endless" melody; think of Birtwistle's endless melodies, but within a much-softened context. A shadowy dance, Swimming with Ghosts cedes to a track with a related title, Undying Spirit, where the music is more floaty. The harmonic twists of Sweet Shadows invokes a depth of emotion that speaks from the heart.

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