Exposé Online banner

Piano Circus featuring Bill Bruford — Skin and Wire
(Summerfold BBSF023, 2009, CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 2010-07-01

Skin and Wire Cover artBill Bruford’s last new studio recording before his announced retirement is seamlessly intertwined with the improvisational two man, two woman unit Pianocircus. Performing the compositions of programmer Colin Riley offers the ex-Yes/Crimson skin beater much in the role of percussionist, as well as gnarly-ass timekeeper always keeping the well-tuned listener on his proverbial toes. Whether on toms or tuned percussion, interacting with four keyboardists interpreting the programmer’s palette, so to speak, is a bit of a challenge for any rhythm section but is perhaps best conceived on “Pale Corridor.” Riley’s sampling of the electric keyboard presents a blurred key attack as well layering the song backdrop with skitter surface noise. One can almost consider this recording a revisiting of the electronic percussion Bruford pioneered with the first Earthworks recording, but with an updated technological bent and better overall recording. When compared to Bruford’s drum and keyboard albums with Patrick Moraz or, more recently, Michiel Borstlap, improvisational tone and color are much more the form in play here. The drummer switches to hand percussion to pepper a head bopping piece entitled “Achilles’s Feel,” then onto a complete (and effective) sonic breakdown of tempo on the “Without a Hand to Hold.” Surprisingly the disc becomes more amorphous as it ends with “Tear” and “Ebb Cast,” where a looping splintery cowbell is paired off against sparse acoustic piano. In summary it’s the kind of recording one would expect Bruford to end his career with: challenging and unconventional.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 38, 2009 releases

Related artist(s): Bill Bruford / Earthworks, Piano Circus

Latest news

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more

2019-03-03
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more

2019-02-21
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more

2019-01-31
Keyboardist Ingo Bischof R.I.P. – Keyboard player Ingo Bischof, best known as the longtime keyboard player of German band Kraan, passed away on January 29th, 2019. Bischof was born January 2, 1951 in Berlin-Kreuzberg and joined Kraan in 1975. » Read more

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Barry Schrader - Beyond – One of the many modern American composers whose work is featured by the Innova label, Barry Schrader appears most at home in the electro-acoustic realm. Beyond is his third release on Innova. “First...  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues