This album seems to have slipped under the radar somewhat with the glut of recent releases from independant labels around the end of October/early November.  Prosa is the second release on Marc Ostermeier’s Tench label and follows on from the release of his own highly engaging Chance Reconstruction album back in August.

The album is a transcontinental collaboration between Tomas Phillips in the US and Marihiko Hara in Japan and is divided into two parts, Prosa I (14 mins) and Prosa II (24mins). Prosa I is further divided into two parts and Prosa II into six.

The whole album is a perfect blend of the exploratory directions each artist has taken in previous works with Tomas applying his improvised and minimalist electronics to Hara’s sparse melodic piano driven by extended chords and briefly sustained notes. The result of this metamorphosis of techniques is a beautifully understated and subtle work of intricate electronic sounds interacting with acoustic and processed piano  in a conversant style. It works on every level and is certainly one of, if not the , best modern classical release of 2010.

From the wonderful interplay on Prosa I.i between the piano and plucked shamisen style notes with occasional discordance, to the sublime Prosa II.i where your ears are caressed by washes of serene signal noise and processed tones ending on bright piano notes, this is a highly recommended listen for all fans of contemporary ambient, modern classical or electroacoustic music.

Tomas Phillips & Marihiko Hara – Prosa. TCH02. Digipak. November 2, 2010

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