Michael Harrison
Revelation
(Canteloupe)

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Revelation sounds like a lullaby that would put only a mad scientist to sleep, said Bradley Bambarger in the Newark, N.J., Star-Ledger. Composer Michael Harrison has gone further than other musicians would dare, creating a customized piano to perform in his self-invented, idiosyncratic method of tuning. The outcome is a lofty work “both archaic and avant garde.” While Harrison claims his tuning offers tonal purity, Revelation sounds aurally unnatural. To “unaccustomed ears,” notes resonate as more pungent than pristine. That’s only because the album requires more than one listen, said Ken Micallef in YahooMusic.com. As the pieces “build, refract, and climb,” you are pulled into Harrison’s “beauty/madness.” His technique, known as Pure Intonation, conjures age-old tuning methods that when unearthed sound refreshingly modern. Revelation thus establishes certain musical expectations only to refute them, pulling the bottom out from under you and leaving behind only “imagination and that damning, beautiful piano dripping colors through the space.” Harrison is “like a magician setting up a trick,” said Joshua Kosman in the San Francisco Chronicle. He transforms overtones, welcomes their clashes, and keeps his audience surprised and thoroughly captivated, taking them on a tour of beautiful and exotic “non-Euclidean musical worlds.”