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Viennese classically-trained, experimental pianist-composer-improviser-vocal artist-educator-curator Ingrid Schmoliner has played new music, experimental and improvised music, avant-garde, jazz, ambient music, free jazz, folk music, minimal music and techno. Schmoliner plays these genres with absolute precision, using her perfect technique to create dramatic arcs with subtle variations. She plays in the NABELÓSE duo with French horn player Elena Kakaliagou, the trio Griff (with percussionist Emilio Gordoa and double bass player Adam Pultz Melbye), and Watussi trio (with double bass player Pascal Niggenkemper and reeds player Joachim Badenhorst), and co-founded the New Adits festival in Carinthia for contemporary music and interdisciplinary performances.

Schmoliner’s Mneem (memory in Latin) is a 62-minute, trance-like minimalist musical monolith, for the prepared grand piano, with carved wooden sticks, nails, rubber and porcupine bristles, and amplification designed by drummer-producer-sound engineer Alexander Yannilos. Schmoliner composed Mneem as a commissioned work for the 32nd edition of the Wien Modern Festival in 2019. It was premiered at the Großer Saal of the Wiener Konzerthaus in the same year and recorded there in November 2019.

Schmoliner navigates this demanding, exhausting, highly immersive, and mysteriously captivating composition through complex, repetitive, and hypnotic rhythmic patterns. it is stressing that its essence is the process of playing and realizing its sonic vision. The composition moves through sonic images of muffled church bells and resonating accents that correspond with Gamelan music, between the percussive and the noisy, and the clear and open with shimmering overtones. It sounds like soulful mechanics, blossoming organically into boundlessness.

The stones on the cover of the album were collected by the Schmoliner from rivers and beaches on her travels and accompanied her with beauty/haptics/depth and consciousness. The album includes a poem by author-photographer Andrew Choate, that corresponds with the cover art and the «foreign consciousness» that Mneem suggests: mud / is stone too // now with footsteps and water / evaporate me back into the clouds / a foreign consciousness // afar remains, distant and graspable.

Eyal Hareuveni

Ingrid Schmoliner (prepared piano)