Denman Maroney


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John Cage was fascinated by it, and Fred VanHove is a master. They are reference points of departure for Denman Maroney, whose playful, 20th century contemporary improvised approach at playing the inside of the piano owes a debt to the aforementioned pair. These unique explorations go well outside conventional boundaries, brandishing non-tonic manipulations, microtonal extravagances, and the restless soul of a nervous, twitchy composer who is truly hyper but quite aware of infinity within the possible. Three pieces comprise the CD; all are over 20 minutes. The first track, "Flux Time," is pattern-oriented, using quirky rhythms and a banjo harmonic effect, pure percussive accents, and even an extended-piano-keys section quite reminiscent of a groove-laden Thelonious Monk angular foot tapper. Cut two, "Artemisia," is an exercise in bowing the piano strings, and all a space journey, at half impulse, riding through sounds of solar jig adjustments and ion storm interference. The third spontaneous composition, "On the Contrary," emphasizes objects slid over the piano strings and is also developmental, going through phases of contrast between the two, but pretty much based in a true combination of inside-and-outside-the-piano balance and hegemony. If one can appreciate the bold audio approach of Maroney and can be patient enough to allow it to unfold, there are some real sonic treasures to be heard here.