British experimental duo Nightports adhere to self-imposed restrictions during the creation of their music, only allowing themselves to utilize sounds generated by their featured collaborators. In the past, this has resulted in left-field pop music, with surprisingly accessible songs built from vocalist Emily Lynn's voice as well as hand claps, stomps, and other percussive movements. Nightports' collaboration with Matthew Bourne is an extensive study of the possibilities of the piano. The source material was recorded during three sessions, the first taking place at Bourne's house, and the other two at Leeds shop Besbrode's Pianos. Several vintage pianos were played, one of which was two centuries old, and numerous microphones were used to capture the sounds. All of the instruments had different stories behind them, different strengths, and different weaknesses or imperfections. Some were better at producing sharper, more percussive sounds, some had deeper bass tones, and some were more melodic. The finished album ranges from more reflective pieces to total deconstructions, riddled with glitches and twisted into complex sequences which would otherwise only be possible on a player piano. "Window" is an example of the album's more conventional side, with a simple, sad melody in the front of the mix, but even as sparse as it might seem, there are still a few layers of more detailed parts lurking beneath. On tracks like "White-Shirted" and "Annie," Nightports take a virtual chainsaw to the instruments. They capture tones which seem like they could only be made using prepared pianos, then they dice the recordings up and arrange them into dissonant, jumpy rhythms. The end result is a unique collision of tradition and technology, flipping between serenity, confusion, and excitement.
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AllMusic Review by Paul Simpson