Crystal Magnets

Crystal Magnets piano duo reunites Andy Milne and Benoît Delbecq, two masters of contemporary improvisation. They became friends in 1990 while studying with saxophonist Steve Coleman at the Banff International Workshop for Jazz & Creative Music. In 2007, Milne and Delbecq were awarded The French-America Jazz Exchange from Chamber Music America. Their vision also included extensive collaboration with audio engineers. In 2008 they returned to The Banff Centre to develop and record “Where is Pannonica?”, which was released by Songlines Recordings in 2009. The New York Times lauded the recording as a “strangely beautiful new album” from two “resourcefully contemporary pianists, both drawn to quixotic interrogations of harmony and timbre.”

Using the characteristics of the 5.0 surround sound format for inspiration, the music was composed in part to exploit the unique potential for placing specific compositional elements in distinct regions of the mix. Producer Amandine Pras created an acoustic array within each piano and analyzed room reflections to define a larger microphone array. This enabled Milne and Delbecq to compose for the medium and perform in harmony with their sound environment. Their shared respect and understanding for each other’s approach to the piano and to improvisation helped connect them in a profound, almost seamless thought process throughout their collaboration.

Throughout their careers, both pianists have explored distinctly different approaches to expressing their experiences through music. As an innovator in improvised prepared-piano performance, Paris-based Delbecq has synthesized sounds and concepts from Ligeti and Steve Lacy to Aka Pygmy music. Milne’s long association with Steve Coleman inspired his unique integration of rhythmic concepts from Cuba, Ghana, jazz, funk and hip-hop.

Although they have both created music for electronic and computer-based instruments, Crystal Magnets is primarily an acoustic piano duo, equally influenced by each pianists’ ever-expanding experiences and passions. Crystal Magnets have performed festivals and concerts in Canada, the US and France, and have also appeared on television. In 2014 they joined forces with two koto players and an animator, forming Strings & Serpents, which premiered at Lincoln Center. Together Milne and Delbecq have extended the scope of the piano duo within the jazz world.

official press materials

Discography

Highlighted Past Events

Date
Greenwich House
New York, NY, US
27 Barrow St
New York, NY
US
(212) 242-4770


Date
Radio France - Studio 105
Paris,, FR
116, avenue du Président Kennedy 75016
Paris,
FR
Date
Rolston Hall - The Banff Centre
Banff, AB, CA
107 Tunnel Mountain Drive
Banff, AB
CA
Date
University of British Columbia - Recital Hall
Vancouver, BC, CA
6361 Memorial Road
Vancouver, BC
CA
Date
Banff Centre
Banff, AB, CA
107 Tunnel Mountain Drive
Banff, AB
CA