Scott Morrow is ALARM’s music editor. Patrick Hajduch is a very important lawyer. Each week they debate the merits of a different album.
Grand Pianoramax: Smooth Danger (ObliqSound, 5/3/11)
Grand Pianoramax: “Roulette” (radio edit)[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Grand_Pianoramax_Roulette_radio_edit.mp3|titles=Grand Pianoramax: “Roulette” (radio edit)]
Morrow: Conceived as something of a live piano-and-drums experiment, Grand Pianoramax is the principal project of pianist Leo Tardin. Once “a New Yorker from Switzerland” and now “a Berliner from America,” Tardin uses a small arsenal of instruments — grand piano, Fender Rhodes, K-Station, harmonium, Phillichorda — to achieve a diversity of sounds for his duo’s spacey, funky, classically infused music.
Smooth Danger is the duo’s third and newest album; released overseas last fall, it sees a US release in a few months. Though it doesn’t depart much from its predecessors, it cuts back a bit on guest vocalists, allowing the duo’s music to better stand on its own. And it deserves to, thanks to its combination of killer melodies, synthesized grooves, and classical piano that overlay tight, rapid rock and boom-bap beats from new drummer Dominik Burkhalter. (The former drummers, by the way, were no slouches: Deantoni Parks [The Mars Volta, Meshell Ndegeocello] and Adam Deitch [Talib Kweli, John Scofield].)