Every since I first heard the piano tracks on drukqs, I've been interested in the prepared piano. As the story goes, the legendary composer John Cage was asked to create a percussion based soundtrack for a modern dance ensemble. The space he was given for this performance was not large enough for set he usually played with, but it could fit a grand piano. Cage's answer was to turn the piano into a percussion instrument. The piano was opened up and objects were placed inside. Screws were wedged in between strings. Objects would be placed in the way of the strings and the hammers. Anything to alter the sound of the instrument. Since then the prepared piano has been used by some of the more ambitious composers of the past few decades, as well as prepared guitars, violins, or whatever other instruments we can alter.
Now Hauschka (aka Volker Bertelmann) has created an album called Prepared Piano which, as the name suggests, uses little else (although you can hear some synths, bass and drums as well) to create some incredible music. This is music that could fit perfectly to a melancholy yet eccentric movie. It's almost jazzy, almost classical, almost freeform, but all of these terms belittle it. A previous album, Substantial, explored single note, sustained piano notes. Below is an unreleased track from the Substantial sessions.
Hauschka - untitled