SPB: For Misinterpretations, you used a grand piano that was (as I understand it) modified with something called Putty Kit, which leads to a unique sound. What is your experience using this and what inspired this project?
Kaada: Putty-Kit goes under many different names : Heftemasse/Klebemasse, Tack-it, Multi-Tac to name a few. It’s that thing you use to hang up posters on the wall, without using tape. To prepare piano with different kinds of objects on the strings can give unpredictable results. The advantage with Putty-Kit is that it sticks in place, and is easy to remove without leaving gut on the strings when you remove it. Normally preparing strings on piano is done with metal, plastic or wood objects. But if you put a dash of putty-kit on a perfectly tuned spot on the strings, new overtones will arise at the same time as the sound is dampened. A journalist referred to it as cello pizzicato, which is a description with I love.
Classical piano music can be so incredible boring to listen to. From my perspective, I think it is because I have played classical piano all my life, and it’s a long time between I am actually interested in what I hear. The great masters are out there but, usually, I feel fed up with traditional piano. With prepared piano, you get a non-linear disturbance in the music. The strings are suddenly struggling to make the beautiful sounds that they are supposed to be making. And the pianist -- in this case me -- has to listen more closely to what actually comes out of the instrument. The piano becomes more equal in producing the direction of the music. You have to listen to each given moment, and play the individual sounds, more than the instrument. If that makes sense to say?
I bought a piano, a fantastic 1930 Bechstein some years ago. I sent it off to Germany for a major brush up. Got it back, ready to practice. But somehow I was a bit disappointed, because I felt I wasn’t able to transfer my style of music onto it. All of a sudden, it sounds like everything else. The putty-kit preparation was an instant love. The quirkiness and the energy that came out of it inspired me to jump into the piano-literature, and to seek out old masterpieces that would work with this kind of sound. The pieces were played over and over, hundreds of times, and slowly, they melted together with this strange piano-sound.
I picked out compositions by Grieg, Debussy, Schubert and some others -- From a great span in music-history, actually. And I organically played my way into them., often just the parts of the compositions that connected to me emotionally. Since my piano is in my studio, and I already have microphones rigged up, I started the process of making an album. To record stuff is the best way to learn and practice, because you are so confronted with what and how you are actually playing. So through recording each song probably hundreds of times, I formed this album.