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Tolimieri, Quentin: Monochromes [3 CDs] (elsewhere)

Berlin-based composer & pianist Quentin Tolimieri's goal for the 15 compositions of "Monochrome" was to hear the acoustic piano differently, removing traditional structures of European harmony, each piece focused on a single or "monochromatic" theme that unfolds over an extended period of time, whether languorous or intensely active, each piece unique and self-contained.

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product information:

Label: elsewhere
Catalog ID: elsewhere 022-3
Squidco Product Code: 32047

Format: 3 CDs
Condition: New
Released: 2022
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 3 Panels
Monochromes 1, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10, 12, 13, and 15 recorded La Maison de la Musique, CapÕDecouverte, in Le Garric, France, from November 30th, to December 2nd, 2021, by Benjamin Maumus.

Monochromes 2, 3, 6, 8, and 11 recorded at Oktaven Audio, in Mount Vernon, New York, on March 12th, 2018, by Ryan Streber.

Monochrome 14 recorded at Studio Zentri Fuge, in Berlin, Germany, on February 27th, 2021, by Jurgen-Tito Knapp.


Quentin Tolimieri-piano

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Artist Biographies:

"Quentin Tolimieri is a composer, pianist and improvisor. His work has been presented throughout Europe and North America at a variety of venues, including, most recently, Roulette and The Stone (NYC), Instants Chavires and La Chapelle (France) and The SPOR Festival for New Music and Sound Art (Denmark), which presented his long form (three hours in total) multi-channel electronic work Three Comedies in its entirety. His music is included on the album West Coast Soundings (Wandelweiser Records) which has been listed as one of the top ten modern classical albums of 2014 by the Wire Magazine. A section of eldritch Priest's Boring Formless Nonsense, Experimental Music and the Aesthetics of Failure (Bloomsbury Academic) is devoted to a lengthy discussion of his work Josef, Lieber Josef Mein. He holds an MA in composition from The University of Southampton (UK) and a BFA in composition and piano from California Institute of the Arts. He lives in New York City, and works as a freelance pianist."

-Quentin Tolimieri Website (

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track listing:


1. Monochrome 1 13:09

2. Monochrome 2 09:30

3. Monochrome 3 12:14

4. Monochrome 4 09:19

5. Monochrome 5 09:34

6. Monochrome 6 12:02


1. Monochrome 7 05:35

2. Monochrome 8 35:21

3. Monochrome 9 07:34

4. Monochrome 10 08:02


1. Monochrome 11 07:20

2. Monochrome 12 23:45

3. Monochrome 13 13:41

4. Monochrome 14 11:24

5. Monochrome 15 10:40
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descriptions, reviews, &c.

From the liner notes by Michael Pisaro-Liu

"Tolimieri makes a universe of micro-nuance audible, with each piece consisting of hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands of points of contact. Each point is just a little different from its predecessor. One by one, the points carry the music outwards, until the sound canvas is radiantly filled with the sensation of a particular touch.

The succession of Monochromes on these discs has a beautiful logic. I hear it as an attempt to "begin again", to rediscover the piano, region by region. Each piece focuses on certain characteristics of the piano's sound so tightly, that it seems as if it was all the instrument was designed to do. Each Monochrome is a small world. Over the course of the three hours the series lasts, we travel across a system of fifteen planets."-Michael Pisaro-Liu

"Berlin-based composer/pianist Quentin Tolimieri created fifteen piano pieces titled Monochrome 1 - 15 between 2017-2021. Each piece has a distinctive character with a single theme unfolding over a long period of time - some are lulling-style pieces with faint melodies in a slow progression; some are vibrant pieces with intense, repetitive layers of brisk beats, where occasionally a hint of harmony or melody ephemerally appears, in between atonal and tonal, or in the intersections of overtones and echoes, or behind the thick layers of reverberation. Tolimieri played these pieces decisively, utilizing various techniques with a deep immersion into a monochromatic palette for each piece, successfully bringing out the innate sound of the piano via minimalist approaches to pure sonority.

"It always felt to me that the piano was a bit limited by a kind of music history embedded in its construction: equal temperament, a particular kind of tone quality, etc., even the way the keys are laid out is not from any kind of acoustic necessity, but is, rather, a representation of European harmony.

However, I began to realize that the piano is actually filled with all sorts of sounds, sounds that we don't really hear or focus on because of all of the structural/linguistic things going on in music, for example a particular melody, a particular harmonic movement, a particular rhythm, a particular formal change. I started thinking if I could eliminate as many of these structures as possible I could start hearing these sounds more clearly. Almost as if, if I could remove the language, the syntax, the grammar, etc., I could hear the actual voice."-Quentin Tolimieri

Related Categories of Interest:

Compositional Forms
Piano & Keyboards
European Improvisation, Composition and Experimental Forms
Solo Artist Recordings
Ambient & Minimal Music
New in Compositional Music
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