6-Panel gatefold wallet, including a four-page booklet of liner notes by Michael Pisaro-Liu. Cover photography by Quentin Tolimieri, design by Yuko Zama.
From the liner notes by Michael Pisaro-Liu
“Tolimieri makes a universe of micro-nuance audible, with each piece consisting of hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands of points of contact. Each point is just a little different from its predecessor. One by one, the points carry the music outwards, until the sound canvas is radiantly filled with the sensation of a particular touch.
The succession of Monochromes on these discs has a beautiful logic. I hear it as an attempt to “begin again”, to rediscover the piano, region by region. Each piece focuses on certain characteristics of the piano’s sound so tightly, that it seems as if it was all the instrument was designed to do. Each Monochrome is a small world. Over the course of the three hours the series lasts, we travel across a system of fifteen planets." (Michael Pisaro-Liu)
Berlin-based composer/pianist Quentin Tolimieri created fifteen piano pieces titled Monochrome 1 - 15 between 2017-2021. Each piece has a distinctive character with a single theme unfolding over a long period of time - some are lulling-style pieces with faint melodies in a slow progression; some are vibrant pieces with intense, repetitive layers of brisk beats, where occasionally a hint of harmony or melody ephemerally appears, in between atonal and tonal, or in the intersections of overtones and echoes, or behind the thick layers of reverberation. Tolimieri played these pieces decisively, utilizing various techniques with a deep immersion into a monochromatic palette for each piece, successfully bringing out the innate sound of the piano via minimalist approaches to pure sonority.
“It always felt to me that the piano was a bit limited by a kind of music history embedded in its construction: equal temperament, a particular kind of tone quality, etc., even the way the keys are laid out is not from any kind of acoustic necessity, but is, rather, a representation of European harmony.
However, I began to realize that the piano is actually filled with all sorts of sounds, sounds that we don’t really hear or focus on because of all of the structural/linguistic things going on in music, for example a particular melody, a particular harmonic movement, a particular rhythm, a particular formal change. I started thinking if I could eliminate as many of these structures as possible I could start hearing these sounds more clearly. Almost as if, if I could remove the language, the syntax, the grammar, etc., I could hear the actual voice.” — Quentin Tolimieri