Four long solo and duet pieces totalling 54 minutes from these two NYC-based, criminally underdocumented musicians. Howard and Maroney have been playing together sporadically since 1975, when they recorded a version of Stockhausen's Kurzwellen as part of the Negative Band (a record engineered by Carl Stone for the Finnadar label). Howard plays alto saxophone and synth, while Maroney plays hyperpiano, which is further explained below. Howard has played over the years with such luminaries as Derek Bailey, Han Bennink, Takehisa Kosugi, George Lewis, Nam June Paik, and Richard Teitelbaum, but has barely recorded, except for a mostly solo electronics CD on Random Acoustics, Pele's Tears. Fire Song contains his first composition for alto to be documented on disc, the solo piece Orchid. Maroney has pioneered a technique for the piano which he refers to as "hyperpiano", which involves stopping, sliding, bowing, plucking, strumming and striking the strings directly with a variety of tools including bars, bowls, knives, bells and mashers of metal, boxes and bottles of plastic, mallets of various kinds, and blocks of rubber. Hyperpiano differs from prepared piano in that the piano is not prepared beforehand.
"The week that I heard this CD, I also witnessed Wally Shoup put a rubber glove on his saxophone, his breath causing it to wave like a sarcastic hand. One could not find two more disparate, conflicting values in music performance, though both Shoup's gesture and the Maroney/Howard CD share something in that they are both instilled with an awareness that conscientious abstraction is an empty gesture--Maroney and Howard perform with a humility that speaks more of functionality in a musical language." - Dean Roberts