Midori Hirano – And I Am Here + review

<Pictures of the second, third, fourth edition and fifth edition are a bit further down this page.>

FdW wrote a review in Vital Weekly: “Midori uses here field recordings from Europe and Japan, which she uses as a backdrop to her piano playing, and that piano is a found object itself, so it detuned a lot over the years. It makes it all wonderfully poetic and intimate music. You hear some birds twitter outside and down the hall someone is playing this detuned piano.” “It’s a bit like one of those releases on the Japanese Flau label, but with an even more lo-fi approach when it comes to recording. Nothing about this is perfect but that’s the beauty of it. Like someone recorded this on a cassette over some time, sticking random events together. Excellent release, so let’s hope there will be a second, bigger edition.”

The tape by Midori Hirano is the second in a series in which I asked an artist to produce a number of compositions for a total of thirty minutes. My two main demands were to spread the process over a couple of months, so that the passing of time would enter the final result, and to come up with ‘songs’ in a length between forty seconds and four minutes, approximately.

For this tape Midori made twenty-five pieces. You will hear recordings made in various places she visited in Europe and Japan. You will also hear an old piano, a piano she found, or encountered. It was very much out of tune. In comes my reason why I asked her. I have encountered her a couple of times during my stay in Berlin. I have seen her play. Most of all I have admired the pictures she posted. They struck me for their beauty, but they also struck me for a beauty I couldn’t quite fit in. We have learned that it is about perception, and aesthetics, and something that already the old Greeks thought well worth discussing, and in fact turned into a kind of philosophy. But this was different. To grasp my sensation into words goes beyond the scope of the introduction to a tape. However to hear the melodies come out of the detuned piano gave way to the same sensation. Maybe detuned piano’s are haunted, and when they produce sound, it is not music, but memories, stories, a hidden pleasure or a signal from a different continent. Enough. Listen to a few snippets.

It took a disproportionate time (for me) to prepare the release. Due to my current stay in the south of Italy the material I needed was not as easy to get as in Berlin. The design I had in mind changed every two, three weeks; I had to adapt to the material I had as well. And it had to be good. If I succeeded is up to you to judge. I am satisfied with the packaging. Midori Hirano – And I Am Here is a thirty minute tape, chrome quality. The first edition is limited to eighteen copies: twelve for Midori, four for staalplaat shop and two for reviews. A new edition will become available in April, in case there is a demand for it. It will cost you €8.50 (ex shipping). In the pictures below you see the different stages in which the release took form. Not on the picture are two inserts in business card format on which basic information, titles and the piano are printed.

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The second edition of ten copies was released on 4. May in a different make-up. It comes with a little booklet. The liner notes and titles are hand-written.

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The second edition sold out pretty fast as well. Midori proposed to produce a third edition completely by herself. So here you have the chance to get a copy in 100% Midori style. It is an edition of ten, which also is selling fast. Get Midori’s copy via her website.



The fourth edition was released in the beginning of August 2015. Ten copies were made. Spraypainted tape, little booklet, short story, ghost white paper packaging. Available at staalplaat or from Midori.

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The fifth edition was released in the beginning of April 2016. Twelve copies were made. The art work is less elaborate as in the previous editions. But therefore it is also a bit cheaper. Get it at the staalplaat shop or directly from Midori.

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