PREMIERE: Dan Trueman's Marbles Étude from Nostalgic Synchronic, Adam Sliwinski on bitKlavier

By Logan K. Young on Sep 23, 2015 02:49 AM EDT

It's been 11 whole months, yes, since we first saw Sō Percussion's Adam Sliwinski's cross-handed study of Dan Trueman's bitKlavier. Shot then by Troy Herion, with Silwinski patched into his Princeton colleague's "prepared digital piano" via Casio USB for prelude-only, with all the bugs beta-ed out now, watch Silwinski's Roland A-88 shake under the more progressive hammer action of "Marbles"--directed by Evan Chapman.

Like Ligeti's last Grawemeyer étude for Boulez from Book One, but played by the Synclavier I from Boulez conducts Zappa, lest you think Dan Trueman's lost his own here, well, just press play.

Now, hit pause at 0:17. And again, 49 seconds in.

Therein's the OS X guts, as well as the canonical tradition-cum-2.0 brilliance, of Trueman's book of eight piano studies: Nostalgic Synchronic (all performed by Sliwinkski, all availble on 80-gram, CD and DRM versions Friday, September 25 from New Amsterdam Records).

"We can't stick a screw between the 'strings' of a digital piano," Trueman duly notes, "since it doesn't actually have any strings. But we can do the digital equivalent by sticking a new algorithm (a kind of virtual screw) inside this algorithm (the virtual hammer and string) that drives the digital piano."

OK, but what of the appellation here for his fourth robo-étude? Why "Marbles," indeed?

"The little bits of rubber that race car tires shed while turning are sometimes called marbles," says Trueman. "Sonically, this seems about right for this étude, but I also like the race car driving metaphor; the driver is not expending energy directly to drive the car, but is rather virtuosically handling a powerful beast, sometime slowing it down, pushing it one way, using the smallest muscles as well as the largest."

"We should have more musical instruments that are like racecars," he says.

Agreed. And perhaps even more so, we need more musicians that are Adam Sliwinski. A world-class percussionist, teacher and scribe, he's quickly becoming quite the maestro, as well.

Hard to believe, then, this one's his first major solo album.

Apropos, Sliwinski will play Nostalgic Synchronic live in concert at (le) Poisson Rouge on Tuesday, October 6. For the gearheads in the group, DAWs will be set up in LPR's Gallery Bar, so you, too, can futz with bitKlavier's three principal types of virtual preparations: Nostalgic, Synchronic and Tuning.

Finally, Trueman's bitKlavier patch will be released along with the album and sheet music care of the Apple App Store and the project website,, for a nominal fee.

That is, $5 for iPad; $25 for the desktop version.

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TagsPremiere, So Percussion, Adam Sliwinski, Dan Trueman, Nostalgic Synchronic, New Amsterdam Records, Marbles, Ligeti, Boulez, Zappa, Le Poisson Rouge

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