"[alloy] is remarkable in its curation: there truly is something for everyone–at least as far as fans of contemporary classical music go–but there are also pieces that warrant a broader appeal. Each composer featured across the album has an entirely different approach to writing for the prepared piano, but Costello has done an amazing job of performing the music in a way that is faithful to the compositions while sequencing the tracks in a cohesive manner and creating a musical through-line. At the risk of putting too fine a point on it, the title really is appropriate–[alloy] is not just an outstanding collection of individual works, but when taken in as a whole, it works on an even greater level."
Greg Nahabedian, I CARE IF YOU LISTEN
[alloy] liner notes to the album
"[alloy] began out of the desire to make something I would be proud of at home during the uncertain winter months of the coronavirus pandemic. With all live events cancelled, a pending presidential inauguration, and a pandemic with no certain end, this commissioning project became an oasis of sounds for me to detach from the hard realities of the world around us. The ritual of setting up and breaking down the total 67 nuts, bolts, rubber and plastic objects lodged between my 5-foot Cable grand piano became a new habit—one that replaced selecting an outfit, getting dressed, and leaving the house for the day.
"Each composer came through so beautifully, offering something unique and heartfelt with the fixed sound palette: from adding backtrack beats (in Aeryn Santillan's distance.), to extended improvisations that guide the performer in and out of notated music (Marina Kifferstein's Then was now), to taking inspiration from a twenty year old past self (Alex Temple's When I was twenty I briefly dabbled in ceremonial magic).
"This is an album I will look back on fondly, because it had reassured me, through these challenging times, that art making and art makers are resilient and capable of making so much with so little." (Shi-An Costello, April 2021)
[alloy] is a new works commissioning project, performed and recorded on a home-produced prepared piano setup (the same as John Cage’s 1948 Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano). [alloy] features unique and brilliant composers across the United States, and organized and performed by Shi-An. The project will culminate in a livestream performance on Experimental Sound Studio’s The Quarantine Concerts, and a premiere recording of all the works, to be released on Bandcamp on April 9th, 2021.
Again and Again, by Viet Cuong
Then was now, by Marina Kifferstein
Letter, by Dorothy Chan
When I was twenty I briefly dabbled in ceremonial magic, by Alex Temple
Morty's Jam, by Michal Massoud