A_A:04 - ANDREA PENSADO - "ACCEPTING THE PATH TO LOVE"
"If the piano, as Val Wilmer said so long ago about Cecil Taylor, is 88 tuned drums, Andrea Pensado plays 88 laptops in one. She uses a collection of digital modules that she built herself in the Max programming language. She likes triggers, and will control sounds with a voice headset, by swishing around a blank space on an ipad, by tilting her phone, or more likely all three at once. She's even built a ventriloquist doll that triggers sounds by opening it's mouth (it's creepy as fuck). Her setup is so extensive and so impressively intricate, she ought to sound clunky, like a person wearing a huge robot suit. Instead, she's viscerally direct. Solo, she's so loud that she's frequently fixed a stuffy nose in the crowd. In a group (Los Condenados, Phurnne), she magically never overpowers, easily seeping around and between the other performers. Andrea grew up studying classical piano in Argentina, went to college in first in La Plata and later in Krakow, Poland. And now, when she isn't freaking the shit out of adults, she lives in Salem, Massachusetts teaching piano to kids by day. Come nighttime, though, the fluidity she's learned from orchestral music stands in wild contrast to her sense of texture. Andrea's modules fritz out thumps and cracks that seem like a hundred oak branches breaking at not quite the same moment. Static scribbles over itself, interrupts and overtakes her vocal growls and sputters, and sometimes you'd swear the sound had morphed into a predator that's choking her in front of you.
These recordings play with hard stereo panning, setting her unmerciful Max modules against supple piano and voice, and it helps hint at the aspects of Andrea's performance that you would usually only notice live: Atlas-level strength, the relentless energy of a wood-chipper, and the plain joy at finding moments when you're not forced to qualify, edit, mitigate, pre-empt, prettify or gloss.
There's lots of nice musicians out there. Lots of cool guitars, loads of fun summer jams with streetwise lyrics. Nothing wrong with em.
But sometimes, things get messy and you wish you could electrocute yourself, get back to zero, chuck the whole thing. Andrea makes the music for that day." - Angela Sawyer