January 8, 2021
Ka Baird’s Vivification Exercises, a recording for piano, voice, and electronics that references an invigorated consciousness, is primarily based on a presentation at Roulette’s Brooklyn theater in May of 2018. The event added to Baird’s history of performances that embrace the physical and visceral, though the musical, provocative sounds this time exorcised from both her body and the piano’s.
When an artist commits mind, body, and the elusive rules of instinct to their practice, there are risks and consequences with the promise of reward and transformation. As the five sections of Vivification Exercises are revealed, patterns unfold and fold over, and the experience is like watching a split screen of both speed chess and slow motion origami with insistent non-verbal vocals evoking an underpinning fantasy or conspiracy.
Baird approaches the piano like the grooming of a sleeping beast in need of unknotting, literally pulling fur from the piano keys. And yet there is a breeze blowing through it all, as electronic weather drifts over and under the sound of the piano, seeps through the cracks, and gently tickles without threatening. If not musical magic, Vivification Exercises is a musical truth.