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Over the past decade, New York-based composer and producer Kelly Moran has challenged the piano's traditional, classically-imposed school of thought with a more contemporary, experimental approach. An accomplished and highly sought-after composer, Moran has collaborated with artists the likes of Oneohtrix Point Never as part of his touring ensemble for 2018 album Age Of, as well as singer and composer FKA Twigs' live ensemble. Moran has also composed for classical musician Margaret Leng Tan and worked with other visionary contemporaries like Kelsey Lu and Yves Tumor. As a solo artist, Moran's critically acclaimed albums, Bloodroot and Ultraviolet, have explored a variety of extended piano techniques like John Cage-inspired prepared piano and exercises in improvisation. Her unique strand of experimental piano compositions, which conjure hypnotizing textures and dramatic compositional arcs, have been included on year-end lists across classical, avant-garde, and metal genres.

Moran's upcoming album Moves in the Field moves away from the prepared piano techniques which defined earlier works like 2017’s Bloodroot and instead exists in a sphere somewhat similar to her 2018 Warp debut Ultraviolet (in which the piano was used in a more experimental capacity), this time placing her instrument in a dimension more isolated and inward. Referring to a series of skating rudiments, the title Moves in the Field reflects the intense practice Moran put into becoming an even more masterful pianist when paired with an impossibly perfect technical partner: the Disklavier.

Moves in the Field is a series of duets for Moran and her Yamaha Disklavier–a technologically advanced version of a player piano. Able to perfectly replicate humanlike playing through intense fine-tuning and programmable dynamics, the Disklaviers used on Moves in the Field act as a foil to Moran's own striving for a balance of technical perfection and emotional expression in her performances and compositions. Moran augments her pianistic abilities by utilizing the Disklavier to write intricate piano parts that go beyond human capabilities. Alongside Moran’s real time playing on each track, listeners are treated to accompaniments by the Disklavier that feature inhumanly fast arpeggios, chords requiring more than ten fingers to play, and other motifs surpassing physical limits on the piano. Used in an experimental capacity, the Disklavier here explores the realm of the inhuman and impossible. A signed Yamaha artist, Moran's utilization of the stalwart brand's pianos is not new, having used a trans-acoustic piano on previous releases, but, armed with multiple Disklavier pianos, Moran is able to expand her piano experimentation to an even further degree.

Moran began working with the Disklavier in early 2020 when she was commissioned to compose a piano duet for herself and acclaimed composer Missy Mazzoli. Yamaha Music loaned Moran a Disklavier piano as a means to help aid in the compositional process so she could hear in real time what her duet would sound like without another pianist there to perform with her. Shortly after when the pandemic hit, Moran composed in isolation. During a time when she was unable to play music with other collaborators, the Disklavier became her beloved duet partner, removing the limits of physicality thanks to the instrument’s motorized existence. When paired with Moran's own, graceful performance, Moves in the Field's duality of the human and the inhuman presents the idea of perfection as something which is attainable through exertion and compositional obsession, but also within the Disklavier's automation and fine-tuning. Dancing around Moran's own performance, the Disklavier's extended range and beyond-human capabilities result in multi-layered and heavily orchestrated compositions. The depth of emotion and a human touch can be found within Moran’s performance which, even through specific and obsessive composition, is not captured by the Disklavier.

Moves in the Field is a product of execution, idealism, and careful production. Influenced by contemporary classical artists like Philip Glass, John Luther Adams, Olga Bell, Julia Wolfe, and David Lang, as well as alternative and electronic artists like Aleksi Perala, Telefon Tel Aviv, and Tori Amos, Moran and Moves in the Field exist at a precipice above two unlikely worlds. Utilizing classical minimalism's repetition and texture, but also the idea of modernized and synthesized "texture" found within electronic music, Moves in the Field's duality exists beyond the idea of humanity versus superhumanity and superimposes Classical Modernity upon an even more contemporary school of thought.

Mixed and recorded by Dan Bora, otherwise known as composer Philip Glass' sound engineer, Moves in the Field was given the same treatment as modern music's most notable names. Much like the perfection Moran strove to achieve on this record in both thematic and execution aspects, Bora's mix and recording prowess gives the world as close to a carbon copy of Moran's performance as humanly possible. Mastered by Telefon Tel Aviv's Joshua Eustis, one of Moran's favorite artists (who was discovered to be a fan of her music, as well), Moves in the Field proves itself to be Moran's boldest work, featuring an all-star staff and an equally impressive recording.

A departure from Moran's previous works, Moves in the Field portrays Kelly Moran in a compositional school all her own. Composed in an era of isolation and meditation on human and technical limitations, Moves in the Field presents itself as a personal, exuberant work of humanity versus the machine and technicality versus musicality, gliding between two worlds with elegance and a balanced mastery. Her second album for Warp Records, Moves in the Field will undoubtedly cement Kelly Moran as one of young modern music's greats.

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