Modern composer and pianist Kelly Moran's challenging of the piano's convention has garnered her praise and study alike. Following a variety of schools, be it Cage-esque instrument preparation or electroacoustic composition, Moran's most recent works have revealed her music to be of a unique style. Having collaborated with artists the likes of FKA Twigs and Oneohtrix Point Never, Kelsey Lu, Yves Tumor, and Margaret Leng Tan, Moran's own modus operandi as a musician has been varied, but centered in a crystalline-yet-organic sound and approach.
Using a programmable Yamaha player piano known as the disklavier, on new EP Vesela she breaks from the disklavier's technical potential in favor of recreating the humanity of her own playing. Inspired by the devastation of heartbreak and Moran's desire to venture deeper into turbulent emotions, rather than running from them, while using her instrument as a means of healing, Vesela's loop-and-cell-based compositions are tender and bare, revealing the disklavier's potential as an instrument for healing rather than a vessel for the inhuman. Meant to be a source of comfort to both hear and play, "Vesela" and "Soft Focus" were rooted in Moran's desire to experience these emotions in a deeper sense. A testament to Moran's own style and vision, the first two compositions on Vesela display Moran as an emotive and introspective composer in addition to the obsessive and detail-oriented one which was displayed in the past.
Set apart from Vesela’s title track and its paired composition "Soft Focus" is "Medusa (Variations on a theme by Sakamoto)." As evidenced by its title, "Medusa" draws from and expands upon a short, minimal composition by the famed pianist and composer Ryuichi Sakamoto that he originally created for an augmented reality art exhibit. Moran was commissioned to expand upon Sakamoto-san’s initial work, and her intricate recomposition features intricately layers of softly arpeggiated raindrop chords that twinkle and burst across a vast horizon. Re-harmonizing and building upon Sakamoto-san's initial composition, Moran's "Medusa" transmogrifies the original work into something of her own.
Showcasing two halves of her most recent compositional styles–the deep impressionism of "Medusa" and the tender, sad, emotional exorcisms of "Soft Focus" and "Vesela," Moran once again presents herself as a powerhouse of modern emotive piano. Vesela was mastered by Telefon Tel Aviv's Joshua Eustis and will be available as a digital release via Moran's home label Warp Records.