Recent technology suggests the possibility to find a different mode of interaction with the technology, allowing to create a very close relationship between the activity on the acoustic instrument and their electronic modifications. The technology is 'operated' by the sonic events and textures created on the piano, utilising conventional and extended piano techniques. This close relationship allows heuristic investigation, it presents itself in a very fragile and context related form, so that ever new relationships can be found,developed and lost. Most importantly to me, it retains a fundamental pianism, in sound and in the playing activity.
Microphones are used to capture the acoustic sound from the piano, a personally developed software (based on Max/MSP) is used to analyse the acoustic sound. The resulting data streams are reporting pitch information, loudness, density and so forth, and, combined with some more direct controls, evoke a mixture of digital audio processes and allow adjustments of i.e. the overall volume and degree of processes. All processes are happening in real-time, so the entire computer process is dependent on a continuous acoustic impetus, although in the course of a performance, accumulative processes are possible which might throw back material which occurred much earlier in the performance.
"Sebastian Lexer's piano+ set up is an incredibly inspirational collaboration between acoustic piano and electronics. The electronically sustained harmonics/drones/crunching/crackling/booming creates a whole new soundworld from an instrument whose traditional soundworld is often difficult to break out of."
Blog by Doug on 20 July 2009 (http://stainonsilence.blogspot.com)
Following recording features the piano+. This live recording was made during a Concert at Goldsmiths, University of London, on the 23rd March 2009.
The most comprehensive piece of writing about the concept of the piano+ has been published in the Leonardo Music Journal Vol 20 (2010):
Sebastian Lexer (2010) Piano+: An Approach towards a Performance System Used within Free Improvisation Leonardo Music Journal, Vol 20 pp. 41-46.
"Dazwischen is the perfect combination of the acoustic and electronic, the new and the old, the familiar and the challenging. It is for me easily the best album I have heard for quite some time. Its impact on me has been remarkable." (Richard Pinnell, August 2009)
"The final track, opposition, seems to capture what's most unique about his approach, a mix of immaculate restraint and serendipity, teasing out and extrapolating the smallest details into a fragile yet captivating music, a virtually seamless conjunction of technology and performance." (Ian Stonehouse, May 2009)
"Lexer's music comprises and juxtaposes the whole repertoire of tones, and noises, associated with the piano. All those sounds just faintly associated with the piano are brought into focus and brought to musical life. The piano creates its own delicate accompaniment of quasi aleatoric, electronic noises; these subsidiary 'noises' are always interesting. Lexer's piano is a kind of Pandora's Box; this intrigues me." (John Tilbury, May 2009)