Vicky Chow - Tristan Perich: Surface Image

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Release Date: October 28, 2014

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New Amsterdam Records is proud to announce the release of Surface Image, the new album-­length composition for solo piano and 40-­channel 1-­bit electronics from composer Tristan Perich and pianist Vicky Chow, released on October 28, 2014. trailer was also released that features a brief performance clip and gives some visual insight into the concept that isn't as apparent on first listen.

Highly praised by many press outlets, a few of the album's accolades include being named #4 in Rolling Stone's 20 Best Avant Albums of 2014, a "brilliant, glittering web of piano and 1-bit electronics" by Wondering Sound, and Feast of Music acclaimed it as a "masterpiece of (Post)Romantic proportions."

Surface Image 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 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.

Press and News:

The Juilliard Journal: "From this humble material, Perich creates music that is minimal and elegant—and gripping...Chow maintains admirable consistency in her keyboard touch and overall focus."

Rolling Stone: 20 Best Avant Albums of 2014 - #4

Music is Good: Top 15 New Classical of 2014 - #8

The Silent Ballet: Top Albums of 2014 - #6

Rhapsody: Top 25 Classical Albums of 2014 - #17

Flaunt Magazine: Interview with Vicky Chow and Tristan Perich - "an aesthetically dizzying synergy of acoustic strains and synthetic sounds"

WNYC: "an intense work of carefully constructed mathematical beauty and one of striking endurance for the pianist"

I Care If You Listen: "a minimalist tesseract comes to life in a stellar digital release from New Amsterdam Records."

I Care If You Listen: 2014 New Music Holiday Gift Guide

New Noise Magazine: 4.0 - "On paper it hardly seems like a feasible collision of sounds, but the remarkable skill of the pair and their ability to intertwine piano notes with electronica with absolute precision showcases the ultimate meeting between organic and electronic."

Textura: "Calling Chow's performance virtuosic hardly does it justice...a remarkable piece of music."

The Brooklyn Rail: 2014 Best Music in the Classical Tradition

The Bandcamp Blog: "With its overlapping patterns, static harmonies, and relentless repetition—not to mention its unbroken, hour-plus length—Surface Image might easily be seen as a 21st-century companion to the minimalist classics of the 1960s."

Wondering Sound: "A brilliant, glittering web of piano and 1-bit electronics."

Rhapsody: "gorgeous...played by the virtuoso Vicky Chow"

Feast of Music: "a masterpiece of (Post)Romantic proportions: an epic struggle between man and machine, pushing the piano beyond the limits of playability. There are moments of breakneck virtuosity and profound lyricism, beauty and menace. It is both an alien landscape and one that's eerily familiar."

Q2 Music: Album of the Week - "Microcosmic fascination aside, Surface Image's power comes from the sublime, sheer power of its whole...creates a universe all its own."

Tiny Mix Tapes: "The depth gathered in just the first nine minute bulk of Surface Image alone is brilliantly wearing, folding pixels and wires over themselves in a dizzying manner to smooth and lull."

Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review: "something quite appealing and intriguing to hear"

Molars: "one of the most exciting pieces of music I've heard in a long time."

Avant Music News: Picks of the Week

The New York City Jazz Record: "one of Perich's most successful projects to date...played wonderfully by Vicky Chow..."