click here to purchase: Annie Gosfield, Tzadik 7040

"Only two or three people use the sampler distinctively enough to be instantly recognizable, and Gosfield may be chief in that respect. Her brash sampled piano tones, precisely mistuned to sound like the very image of desuetude, are wholly original. An impressive debut disc."
– Kyle Gann, The Village Voice, 1999

1. Nickolaievski Soldat 6:56

2. Freud 4:02

The Manufacture of Tangled Ivory
3.excerpt: Part I 5:34
4.excerpt: Part II 4:54

5. Four Roses 5:51

6. Blue Serge 3:26

7. Brawl 10:14

sampling keyboards ANNIE GOSFIELD (tracks 1,2,3,4,5,6)

electric guitar ROGER KLEIER (tracks 1,2,3,4)

drums and percussion CHRISTINE BARD (tracks 1,4)

percussion JIM PUGLIESE (tracks 1,4)

cello TED MOOK (track 5)


ROVA (track 7):

soprano saxophone BRUCE ACKLEY

alto saxophone STEVE ADAMS

tenor saxophone LARRY OCHS

baritone saxophone JON RASKIN

all compositions by ANNIE GOSFIELD except Freud, by ANNIE GOSFIELD and ROGER KLEIER


executive producer JOHN ZORN associate producer KAZUNORI SUGIYAMA

Tracks 1-6 recorded during a residency at Harvestworks Studio, New York, in the Winter of 1997 by Leslie Lavelanet.  Track 7 recorded at Radical House, San Francisco, California, June 21, 1998 by Myles Boisen.


The title Burnt Ivory and Loose Wires was inspired by the image of a ruined piano and slack strings. This group of pieces emphasizes altered and detuned instruments: piano sounds have been prepared, sampled, detuned and manipulated, stringed instruments have been retuned, and saxophones slide to micro-intervals. The work uses both traditional and non-traditional techniques: detuned instruments are contrasted with equal-tempered instruments, and notated scores incorporate improvisation. Although digital sampling is used extensively, everything was performed live (no sequencers) and most of the pieces were recorded live without overdubs.

My fascination with detuned sounds started when I was 14 on a riverboat in New Orleans; the sheer power of a wildly out of tune calliope blasting out Basin Street Blues and Way Down Yonder in New Orleans gave those old standards a new life for me.  The same can be said for a brass band in Oaxaca, and for a guitarist named Wichita picking an out of tune version of Wildwood Flower at the Johnny Mack Brown High School, tempering sentimental cliches with a richness only achieved by beating pitches and wild card tunings.

That pieces that incorporate detuned instruments use scales and tunings composed more by ear and random elements than strict microtonal systems.  Generally, in the case of acoustic instruments, the tuning has a life of its own, and each individual instrument’s “calamitonality” will become more pronounced by the end of the piece. 

This project was produced in part at Harvestworks/Studio PASS through the artist-in-residence program. Brawl was funded in part by the Margaret Fairbank Jory Copying Assistance Program of the American Music Center.

© 2003 – 2007 Annie Gosfield
design by Miriam Kolar