Tristan Perich's Surface Image feat. Vicky Chow
Surface Image is the new album-length composition for solo piano and 40-channel 1-bit electronics from composer Tristan Perich and pianist Vicky Chow. The work was released on New Amsterdam Records in October 2014 to much acclaim, being praised as "a masterpiece of of (Post)Romantic proportions" (Feast of Music), "the ultimate meeting between organic and electronic" (New Noise Magazine), and as creating "a universe all its own" (Q2 Music). Additionally, the record was chosen for multiple year-end lists in publications such as the Rolling Stone, The Brooklyn Rail, Rhapsody, The Silent Ballet, and Music is Good.
The work is a stunning marriage of Perich's inspired electronic aesthetic and Chow's nuanced yet fiercely virtuosic playing. It's a landmark release for Perich, being his first major release focusing solely on his work, as well as his first large-scale piano composition. Chow's dynamic performance is swept up in a sublime flurry of dazzling 1-bit sounds, simultaneously entangling and unraveling over the hour long journey. The line between electric and organic is artistically blurred, as the simple hand-wired electronics fuse with the individual notes of the piano on the same, expansive plane.
Through a string of groundbreaking works pairing acoustic instruments with hand-made 1-bit electronics, Tristan Perich has transformed the way in which traditional forms of composition can be enhanced and reinvigorated by the aesthetic simplicity of math, physics, and code. Perich's name splashed onto the scene with 2004's 1-Bit Music (the first album ever released as a self-contained microchip embedded in a jewel case) and since then his 1-bit compositions (like 2010's 1-Bit Symphony) have flourished: growing steadily in size, scope, and ambition.
Canadian pianist Vicky Chow has been described as "brilliant" (New York Times) and "one of the new stars of new music" (Los Angeles Times). She has premiered works by a slew of iconic composers - from Steve Reich to Bryce Dessner - and is a member of New York's preeminent Bang on a Can All-Stars. Chow also recently created an arrangement of The Rite of Spring for solo piano, of which she gave multiple performances during the centennial celebration, including a live streamed performance from WNYC's The Greene Space on May 29th, 2013 - the exact day the work was premiered in Paris 100 years earlier.
Surface Image premiered on February 19, 2013 at Roulette in Brooklyn, NY. During live performances, Chow's piano can be seen nested in a sea of cables and circuit boards, each powering one of the 40 loudspeakers hand-wired by Perich to serve as his electric orchestra. The immense work was later later recorded at EMPAC's sound studio, helmed by producer Argeo Ascani and mix engineer Jeffrey Svatek, and recording engineers Stephen McLaughlin and Svatek. The enormous scope and power of Surface Image's live aesthetic is captured in vivid detail by this recording, which places the listener at the center of Perich and Chow's sublime cacophony.