Musicians can be their own worst critics. Look no further than New York pianist and composer Kelly Moran, who, since 2010, has doggedly pursued her idiosyncratic vision of post-classical piano music through modern-dance soundtracks, concert recordings, and fusions of prepared piano and electronics. Her last album, 2017's Bloodroot, was her most intensive study of the prepared piano's mercurial sonics yet, earning acclaim from The New York Times as one of last year's best classical pieces.
Ultraviolet, Kelly Moran's first album for Warp Records, is a gentle affair. The description "prepared piano mixed with electronica" brings to mind Aphex Twin in full drukQs pomp, but the natural synthesis achieved here has a lot more in common with Mary Lattimore's Hundreds Of Days album earlier this year, which combined delicate harp playing with ambient post-production. There is a formula of sorts for many of these tracks: the sonorous metallic tones of the prepared piano ring out on their own before being joined by lingering pads, which give the whimsical motifs body and swell to create a subtly epic climax.
Kelly Moran regularly composes music for prepared piano, inserting objects between piano strings in order to produce a wider, more percussive range of tones. Instead of sounding stiff and academic like the prepared piano works of John Cage, however, Moran's pieces are much more vibrant, even ecstatic. The tracks on her 2018 album, Ultraviolet, originate from a series of improvisations recorded during a burst of creativity one epiphanic day.