Thomas Köner :: Tiento de las Nieves (Denovali)

Thomas Köner’s autopsy of the spatial and temporal properties of the piano. A captivating meditation on the longing in the life of sound.

A total rip-off of Brian Eno. (Insert winking smiley face here.) The familial resemblance to “1/1” on Eno’s Music for Airports is uncanny, but it is also canny. It is Thomas Köner’s autopsy of the spatial and temporal properties of the piano.

The immaculate white digipak and quote from Fritjof Nansen’s musings on fresh snow and love remind us that Köner has hardly abandoned the Arctic obsession emblematic of his career. But where seminal works like Teimo or Permafrost were massive and glacial, Tiento de las Nieves is a dot on a huge white canvas.

“Tiento” is a term borrowed from a genre popular in fifteenth—and sixteenth-century Spain, denoting, if I understand right, more a keyboard texture than any particular style. Köner, to borrow the words of Canadian poet Anne Carson, moves each note through time “like a needle stitching together the two moments that compose nostalgia,” the strike of the piano keys and their enhanced echo. Like “1/1,” the titular artist does not play the piano—Robert Wyatt did for Eno, the far less-known Ivana Neimarevic for Köner—but Köner does the celestial shaping. Each note connects the listener to the dramatic action but each echo separates him from it. It is a captivating meditation on the longing in the life of sound.

Tiento de las Nieves is sixty-eight minutes of ambiguous seduction and is available on Denovali.

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