A companion volume to the Sun Piano album, this LP was recorded at the same session in a Brooklyn Church. Whereas the former record lent itself to the more uplifting side of Laraaji’s keyboard improvisations, Moon Piano explores the more introspective and minimal pieces captured by Jeff Zeigler (Kurt Vile, The War On Drugs, Mary Lattimore) and edited by Christian Havins (Dallas Acid).
Laraaji describes this set of tracks as “Contemplative sound painting, embracing quiet tranquil unfolding of nurturing reflection”. In a recent interview with Aquarium Drunkard, Laraaji described the improvisatory process of making both piano albums: “I’d sit down, touch the piano and through free association, also blending it with my prepared mental state, I was able to tune in and affirm my highest sense of presence. The piano became an instrument for the imagination to suggest higher or finer worlds, to suggest a joy, euphoria, bliss, also to suggest silence, minimalism, relaxation, and contemplation. So, all of that music was spontaneous but with those influences shaping and guiding it along the way.”
Whilst Moon Piano almost shades into melancholy with a contrasting nighttime vibe to Sun Piano’s daytime joyfulness, certain themes from the first record reoccur - side two’s “Pentatonic Smile” is a longer edit on the central riff underpinning the former album’s “Temple Of New Light”.
released October 9, 2020
Recorded at the First Unitarian Church, Brooklyn, NY, December 10 & 11 2018. Engineered and mixed by Jeff Zeigler on behalf of Uniform Recording. Produced by Matthew Jones. Edited and co-produced by Christian Havins. Mastered by Stefan Betke at Scape. Photography by Daniel Oduntan. Design and layout by Darryl Norsen. All compositions by Edward Larry Gordon, Warp Publishing Ltd.
A note on the recording - this is essentially a ‘live’ session, tracked inside a working church in a busy part of Brooklyn. Whilst Laraaji was playing, different community groups would pass through to use the church’s facilities, and a number of distinctive city sounds would sometimes penetrate the walls of the church, from police car sirens to the noise of schoolchildren. There are no overdubs, and Laraaji’s spontaneous performance is captured vérité style, with minimum application of artificial techniques to clean up what was captured on the microphones. Please note therefore that whilst chair scrapes, door slams and the breathing of the pianist are all audible, the full dynamic range and authentic spirit of the session are captured on this record. Some of the longer pieces have been edited into shorter sections thanks to careful attention and skilful work by Christian Havins of the band Dallas Acid, who have both collaborated with Laraaji previously and released their own album on All Saints Records.
Laraaji is a musician, mystic and laughter meditation practitioner based in New York City. He began playing music on the
streets in the 1970s, improvising experimental jams on a modified autoharp processed through various electronic effects. He has since released albums for a variety of labels, often recording himself at home and selling the results as cassettes during his street performances....more
I'm not sure why I didn't listen to this sooner. I guess I thought "well obviously it'll be good, I'll come back later". Since buying I've listened twice in a day. This album is beautiful, both in a soothing relaxing way but more importantly in a heart-wrenching and painfully anguished way. Aidan