Experimental Music
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Ralf Schmid is an inventor. The basis of his inventions is called Pyanook.

Ralf Schmid is an explorer. The breeding ground of his discoveries is called Pyanook.

Ralf Schmid is a philosopher. The system of his philosophy is called Pyanook.

Ralf Schmid is a researcher. The object of his research is called Pyanook.

Ralf Schmid is a magician. The formula of his magic is called Pyanook.

Ralf Schmid is a musician. His music is called Pyanook


One can simply take "Zas", the new album by Pyanook, as what it reveals itself to be at first impression: a piece of music, comprehensive, complex, accessible and beautiful. But there is much more to "Zas" than that. It is an accumulation of questions, the answers to which are concentrated in the listener's ear. It is the expression of a world view that cannot be put into words and therefore can only be described in music. It is the sound development of the primal reason of all music making, namely to make the dimensions of our existence comprehensible and to get to the bottom of the basic questions of being.


The field of tension of the sound world on "Zas" takes place between macrocosm and microcosm. What appears to us as a whole is broken down into its particles and put together to form a new whole. Ralf Schmid plays with the imagination of the seeing ear, reveals the mystical components of reality and makes the principles of metaphysics sensually comprehensible. The pieces on the album embody quite different degrees of musical density and stand for an unlimited number of influences. But it is precisely this openness to all directions, this courage to turn away from the categorizability of what is actually uncategorizable and to let streams from jazz, pop, classical, minimal music, ambient, electronic music and the most diverse musical ethnicities flow together in an ocean of sounds that makes this album an omniversal sound experience. Schmid merges all these elements into a kind of musical metalanguage.


Washed in all the waters of music theory, Ralf Schmid is nevertheless not an analyst, but approaches his musical interests in a completely emotional way. He sits down at the piano and tries out different things. In doing so, he consciously uses his own limitations as a tool, resulting in an individual vocabulary. When he approaches fields like jazz or classical music, he does so through his personal focus. Perfecting what already exists is far from his mind; rather, he seeks the perfect poetry of the imperfect. Like a spicy spice mixture, the charm of his compositions lies in the combination of individual components. Schmid slams the door of the music-theoretical machine room behind him and relies entirely on his taste. "This process takes place quite consciously for me," he postulates. "I know that I'm a combination of a lot of things, a mosaic of all these influences that have hit me to the core at important moments in my life."


In a way, "Zas" is a utopia, because with Pyanook Ralf Schmid leads us to that place of longing where all languages, cultures, religions, life plans and dreams are compatible. The empathy level of his music is therefore incredibly high, because it is open, inclusive and freed from all hierarchies and evaluations. His claim sounds like a social healing herb in an environment that is increasingly defined by its divides. "I don't address individual bubbles, but focus on what unites. That music can be something greater is not a phrase for me. In music, there are a few very simple parameters that can not only be accessed in all phases of music making, but can also be applied to all situations in life."


Pyanook shapes itself on "Zas" as a hybrid of solo project and collaborative work. The focus is always on Ralf Schmid's playing on the keys. But the album also features a number of guests, including Norwegian percussionist Håkon Stene and his compatriot Morten Qvenild, who, like Schmid, is a pianist and sound manipulator who caused and still causes a stir with such well-known bands as In The Country, Jaga Jazzist and The National Bank. Further, individual tracks feature the Trondheim Voices choir, former Tab Two and DePhazz trumpeter Joo Kraus, and violinist Etienne Abelin, to name a few. Schmid manages to blend with these extraordinarily voices in such a way that the origin of the individual idiom becomes entirely secondary. Like Schmid himself, all his guests place themselves fully at the service of the sound cosmos.


In the interaction of all these components, "Zas" amounts to a triad of music, color, and movement. Schmid is constantly researching this triangle. An essential aspect of this is the work with his sensory glove, with which Schmidt can process sounds while they are being created. It is in this respect that Pyanook's music also takes on a dance-like feel. After exploring the possibilities of this tool over a period of several years, Schmidt's main focus is now on reduction. What can I say with which movement is the central question when using the glove. "If you just use the glove like a mixer, it's totally witless. Sure, you can make yourself independent of any equipment with this tool. But much more important is the choreographic aspect, which lies precisely in the connections between movement and sound."


Zas is the name of the highest mountain on the Greek island of Naxos, a magical place with which Ralf Schmid associates a lot. From its summit one believes to overlook the whole world and to detach oneself from everything earthly. Everything that seems to be of importance at its foot loses its context at altitude. Zas is also a synonym for Zeus, the all-encompassing father of the gods. The album "Zas" is an expression of total top view and fascinating all-round view. Pyanook draws from the known and familiar, fulfilling the postulate of the great Norwegian composer Arne Nordheim: it is about nothing less than unheard music.


The new album "Zas" is available physically and digitally on all music platforms.

More releases of Pyanook

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