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David Friend & Jerome Begin - Post- (New Amsterdam)

24 March 2022

Whether we like it or not, whether it’s even perceived or not, technology intersects with our lives constantly. Pianist David Friend and composer Jerome Begin embrace that state of things on Post-. Starting from a place of classical piano, the duo add electronics courtesy of Begin’s sound library for a set of songs that honor the traditional and the contemporary. When we say “electronics,” we don’t mean artificial beats or throbbing sequencers under Friend’s pianistics. Instead Begin adds ambient whirring and buzzing sounds in the background, enhancing the acoustic instrument through contrast of modern world meeting ancient musicianship.

Opening cut “These patterns” nails the vision right out of the box, as Friend progressively puts the piano keys through their paces and Begin colors what little empty space there is with a consistent blur of white noise. The duo dips into minimalist waters with “Gated memories” and “Chords pulling,” letting triads and arpeggios ring out into a space lightly frosted with subliminal synth beds. Begin gets more aggressive with his stabs on “Voices,” dueling/duetting with Friend’s angular piano attack to elicit the constant whir of information encountered the moment one leaves the bedroom.

Not that Friend always needs that background to evoke images of the twenty-first century – his rolling keyboard work on “Like thunder” and “Reversing” certainly bring to mind busy streets and crowded highways, while closer “Cluster and dissolve” lets his prepared piano paint a picture of the city at night after the rain, a respite before the hustle and bustle return. The pair’s blend of acoustic hammers on strings and electronic firing synapses gives Post- its distinctive aesthetic, all in tribute to the embrace between digital technology and analog life.