|Matt Turner’s Dada Ear Ink on Fever Pitch is a solo piano recording, and that’s about all that can be plainly stated about this engrossing set of sonic experiments. This is a CD to play in the dark or while driving in the middle of the night down a straight Nebraska highway. It is truly soundtrack music that needs no film. Dream-like explorations into outer space, and all created on, and in, around, and maybe underneath a piano by one man with “NO effects, reverb, or editing”, as stated in the CD jacket.
The fact that Matt Turner is also an accomplished cellist should be no surprise when you hear him pluck and scrape the strings of the piano. He employs the keys, occasionally, but Dada Ear Ink is about the entire instrument and the myriad of sounds and echoes that can be pulled from it. Dadaism is also a nice connection here, because the music really makes the listener rethink the piano and the preconceptions of the instrument. This music is simply about listening and allowing that to take you wherever you may end up. This is improvisational music of the highest degree; Roscoe Mitchell’s Sound on solo piano.
There is a great William Parker recording entitled Lifting the Sanctions, and from a solo bass performance, one is transported by listening to masterful technique freely expressing itself, almost as if Parker becomes part of the instrument by completely succumbing to the plucking and bowing. It begins to sound not like a bass, but pure sound. Matt Turner turns the same trick here on the piano, using it to create the sounds, but freeing himself and the instrument from its constraints. The results are pure sound and pure fuel for the imagination, assuming the listener can free him or herself from the same constraints that often limit the act of listening.