CatSynth Video: Cat on a Piano

Cute cat sitting behind the keys of a piano and clearly enjoying the jazz/bluey music. Via Classic FM on Facebook.

This piano is purrfect 😻

We at CatSynth agree. And for anyone who protests that a piano is not a synth: yes, this is true, but we recommend just chilling and enjoying the music like this cat.

CatSynth Video: Sarper Duman and his Cats

Sarper Duman returns to CatSynth with one of his beautiful serenades with his cats 😻. From his Facebook page.

If you want to wake up to every new day with a real and unconditional love, adopt an animal.. Even if they don’t see, even if they’re missing a leg, they have no handicap in loving and being loved.. 🖤🐈🎹
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Her yeni güne gerçek, çıkarsız bir sevgiyle başlamak istiyorsanız, hayvan sahiplenin.. Görmeseler de, bir bacakları eksik de olsa, sevmeye, sevilmeye hiçbir engelleri yok.. 🖤🐈🎹

The moment where the tabby crawls onto the keyboard is priceless!

 

RIP Cecil Taylor (1929 – 2018)

We learned yesterday of the passing of another of our musical heroes, Cecil Taylor.

This segment of solo piano demonstrates how his playing is incredibly complex but remains thoroughly musical.   The fast runs contain a unique contrapuntal language.  And more importantly, there is phrasing, contour, and emotion that unifies the performance.  Taylor had an uncanny ability to combine European classical tradition, jazz, and other African American influences into a unique musical language that he dubbed “black methodology”.  This quote from poet and critic A. B. Spellman, included in the official New York Times obituary, sums it up well.

“There is only one musician who has, by general agreement even among those who have disliked his music, been able to incorporate all that he wants to take from classical and modern Western composition into his own distinctly individual kind of blues without in the least compromising those blues, and that is Cecil Taylor, a kind of Bartok in reverse.”

 

It is hard for me not to compare Taylor with another contemporary of his, Ornette Coleman, who passed away in 2015.  Coleman is one of my favorites – Taylor takes the level of complexity to another level.  Both remain huge influences.  We leave you with this recording of “Calling It the 9th”.

 


CatSynth Video: Savannah Cat on Piano

A young savannah cat – at least we think it’s a savannah and not an actual serval – playing on the piano. We think the music actually makes for a great introduction, perhaps the start of a theme and variations.

Seen via Emergency Kittens on Twitter. We think the cat’s name is raameses.

CatSynth Pic: Just One of Those Afternoons

This picture, which comes to us via the Facebook group Classic FM, does reflect our mood on this dreary afternoon. Making the best of it with warmth and cats.

CatSynth Video: Fazıl Say and Cat

Pianist Fazıl Say playing some beautiful virtuosic piano for a white cat. 😺 🎹

CatSynth Video: Cat Loves Music

From the Facebook group Cute Kitty:
“Cat Loves Music 💖😻💖”

They enjoy music at CatSynth HQ as well.

NAMM 2017: Mike Garson Plays Synthogy Ivory II

Mike Garson is a legendary keyboardist. He is perhaps best known for his collaborations with David Bowie – indeed that is how we primarily know him. But he is quite the performer in his own right, combining avant-garde and jazz together into a very rhythmic style of playing. He was performing today at NAMM on Ivory II, the flagship virtual piano from Synthogy. You can see a segment of his performance in this video.

The performance, which lasted over 30 minutes, featured a variety of styles and ranged from improvisations to familiar tunes. It is quite virtuosic, but not for its own sake as the fast runs and driving low-note chords serve the music well. Towards the end he played in a heavy style that I like to call “avant stride.”

I was quite happy to get such a good visual and sonic spot to see him; and aftwords had a chance to think him for his music and inspiration to my own playing.

CatSynth pic: Kitten on Keys

Kitten sleeping on piano keys

Cats napping on keys seems to be a theme this week ?

Submitted by ⓉⒺⒸⒽℕ⌽▃ⒾⒹ●⒞⒪⒨ via Twitter.

Martha and Monica: Morton Feldman’s On Patterns in a Chromatic Field

12719352_10153950108344314_418060891337331788_oWe at CatSynth have had quite a few unique musical experiences this season. Today we look back at another of them. In early February, the duo Martha and Monica (Hadley McCarrol on piano and Monica Scott on cello) performed Morton Feldman’s Patterns in a Chromatic Field in its entirety.

“In it’s entirety” is no small thing, as the piece consists of a single continuous 90-minute movement. It’s a feat of endurance for both the listeners and performers. But McCarrol and Scott made it seem straightforward and effortless. The performance began with very sparse but unsettled harmonies, with the texture increasing but then returning to sparseness again. It was only the final third that the texture and intensity grew towards a bolder and thicker sound. All the while, the music was constantly changing, repeating a few times, leaving a bit of space, and then going on to something else. This is consistent with Feldman’s interest in sound as something ephemeral and lost, and in creating a sonic space where memory is subverted or “disoriented.” The spaces in between the sounds are important as well, given moments of reflection and mental echoes.

All of this might make the piece seem daunting to listen to, especially at the length of a typical feature film. But the combination of space and disorientation were helpful, making it more like thoughts passing in a meditative space. The anxiety in a passage builds, but then dissipates – one acknowledges it and moves on. The passage of time itself became background noise and the sounds became more spatial than temporal. This effect might be more pronounced for someone like myself who sees shapes when listening to music, but I suspect other deep listeners had analogous experiences.

Unlike Feldman’s earlier pieces, this one was fully notated using common practice notation. This would both facilitate and make more challenging the process and playing and learning such a piece, where every note makes a difference. It was overall an impressive feat of musical performance, and glad I got to spend an afternoon hearing and seeing it.