Daniel Biro ‘Synthrospections 1 – Hidden Castles’
Solo keyboard improvisations
1. Hidden Castles [40:04]
Featuring (in order of appearance):
– Rhodes electric piano
– Korg LP1 piano
– Roland RS-505
– Roland SH-2000
– Moog Matriarch
– Moog Prodigy
– Yamaha Reface CP
– Yamaha Reface CS
– Yamaha Reface YC
– Nord Stage 3
– Arturia Drumbrute Impact
– Yamaha CS01
All music written, recorded and produced by Daniel Biro
Recorded live for Soundcellar livestream concert on May 6th 2021 at the DB Studio, London.
Photo by Daniel Biro
Synthrospections are improvised solo keyboard performances. No music is prepared in advance and nothing is pre-programmed apart from the initial sound of each keyboard. It’s all about capturing ‘in the moment’ ideas, warts and all, and retaining the original structural flow of the event.
Once recorded, I slightly edit some of the too obvious ‘warts’ and give the ensemble a decent mix. No other instrument layers are added, even though that would sometimes enhance the music, and every idea is kept in the chronological order in which it appeared during the improvisation.
My aim is to play. Not press ‘Play’. To play my keyboards in real time without any constraints. To allow myself to find, as opposed to look for, musical ‘objects’ and explore them for a while until the next idea comes along. An instant composition creating itself.
I have no pre-conceived idea of which musical genre to inhabit. Categories are irrelevant. Things can go from very melodic tunes to experimental atonality, from groove-based jazziness to ambient soundscapes. All the music that is inside me is given an equal opportunity to emerge.
My keyboards are an eclectic mix of vintage and new. Each instrument has its strengths and character (which sometimes includes not working properly…). The unpredictability of tweaking synths in real time is part of the fun. For these recordings I don’t use any computer-based instruments or plug-ins. No mouse-clicking. Pedal loopers are used to ‘freeze’ some ideas into spur-of-moment backdrops on which I can build.
Improvising is a fine balance between being in control and giving up that control. Being a composer and being an interpreter. Trying and not trying. Thinking and not thinking. Obviously this can be risky as one can get stuck in a place where nothing very interesting is happening. Or have playing mistakes ruin a good bit (that’s where the editing comes in…). But using mistakes as sparks for new ideas is inherent in the quick-thinking improvisational process. It’s a dangerous path. But that’s the challenge: to jump off the cliff and hope you’ll levitate.
© Daniel Biro 2021
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