Pianist Miki Sawada had an ambitious idea for a piano show that would break the classical recital mold. She imagined a show that would combine the intense, immersive minimalism of composer and fellow distance running enthusiast Brendon Randall-Myers with classical piano repertoire, and emphasize the audience and environment as equally central to the experience as Sawada’s performance and the music itself.
The result is A Kind of Mirror, a theatrical show co-created with Randall-Myers and director Daniel Pettrow, originally presented by Sawada as part of her 2018 tour, Gather Hear West Virginia. Closer in tone to a singer-songwriter concert crossed with Marina Abramovic’s The Artist is Present and Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood than to a classical piano recital, audience members joined Sawada onstage for conversation, storytelling, and tea-making, creating a dreamlike yet inviting frame for Sawada’s performance. Randall-Myers, who was raised in the rural state, wrote the concert’s centerpiece. A Kind of Mirror made 12 stops through rural West Virginia, and featured the album’s opening and closing movements. The duo later expanded the piece to five movements for its Brooklyn premiere at Roulette the following year.
As avid distance runners, Sawada and Randall-Myers’ shared experiences with trancelike flow states and extreme physical exertion are direct inspirations for the music. In each of A Kind of Mirror’s five movements, a singular musical idea is repeated and elaborated into a kaleidoscopic meditation reminiscent of the elation of a “runner’s high”. This concept is on spectacular display in the work’s faster movements, Bloom and Cascade, where Sawada’s playing seems to push against the limits of human virtuosity and endurance. Synthesizers and audio processing amplify, uplift, and expand the sonic palette of the piano throughout the album, evoking an even deeper sense of hyper-awareness or hyper-reality.
released August 27, 2021
Composition and sound design by Brendon Randall-Myers
Performed by Miki Sawada
Recorded at Patrych Memorial Studios [December 2018 – October 2019]
Mixed by Adam Cuthbert at the Vapor Cave in Detroit, MI
Mastered by Mike Tierney at Shiny Things Studio in Brooklyn, NY
Artwork by Andrew J Kay
Design by Tristan Kasten-Krause
Produced by slashsound in Detroit, MI
Adam Cuthbert & Daniel Rhode, Executive Producers
slashsound (est. 2014) is a record label and platform for projects by composers, producers, and artists with a common interest in the abstract, the extreme, and the unexplored. slashsound presents future-thinking artistic work on an environmental scale, using combinations of digital production tools, analog instruments, and natural acoustical phenomena to weave the everyday landscape of urban living with digital audio/visual production.
supported by 10 fans who also own “A Kind of Mirror”
J’étais à Carnac hier et je suis tellement triste que vous n’ayez pas pu jouer à cause de fanatiques sourds et aveugles. Ils espèrent une belle vie après la mort mais sont déjà morts de leur vivant, mort dans leur âme, incapables de la moindre émotion autre que celle dictée par leur foi … je les plaint tellement. PATRICE