Eric Glick Rieman - "Ten To The Googolplex"
(Accretions 2001, alp021)
From Aural Innovations #18 (January 2002)
San Francisco based electronic musician Eric Glick Rieman is active on the Bay-area scene playing in such groups as Laughing Stock, Thieves Of Silence, Liquid Mosaic, and Bilge. He's also a student in the Mills College Electronic Music and Recording Media Master's program. Ten To The Googolplex is a set of four solo improvisations on prepared rhodes electric piano. Regarding the instrumentation it's worth quoting from the back of the CD:
"This recording was made using a rhodes electric piano which I prepared, modified, and extended by adding nails, zinc and steel rods, rubber washers and figurines, chothespins, paperclips, peanuts, and other stuff. I play it with my hands, rocks, bolts, tools, a bass bow, marbles, bottle caps, and sometimes even the keyboard!"
The album consists of mostly ambient music but includes a bounty of drones, wails, bangs, and various other sounds. The opening track, "Whimbrel On White Linen", is an ambient exploration into the coldest and darkest reaches of space. Or perhaps a trip beneath the surface of the ocean for a symphony of whale songs. Wailing sounds that stop short of being ear-piercing combine with low drones for a calming introduction. But things start to get busier and more varied on "Coiled Plumbbob". Scratching... light banging... percussive... multi-pitched drones... Rieman brings together an ensemble of tones and ambient clatter to create an experience that is simultaneously meditative and jarring. My favorite track on the disc. "Whigmaleerian Duologue" is similar, but heavy on the atmospherics and there's a strong sense of developing theme. And "Planarian Egress" is a 28 minute, slowly developing ambient piece that drifts through the ether, taking subtle but significant twists and turns along the way.
The strength of the album is the banquet of sounds Rieman is able to wrench from his instrument, and it was good fun listening to the music realizing that all this is being done by playing/manipulating/assaulting a rhodes. I'm a big rhodes fan but I challenge anyone to guess that's what this is without being told. I'd love to watch Rieman in performance to see just how and from where he's inducing the sounds. He has well prepared and most certainly extended the piano, providing himself with an orchestra of varied sounds and range of ambient and atmospheric possibilities.
For more information you can visit the Accretions web site at: http://www.accretions.com.
Hear the entire album online at the Zu Casa site at: http://www.zucasa.com/.
Contact via snail mail c/o Accretions; PO Box 81973; San Diego, CA 92138.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz