Breaking It in

Kurt Fischer's new album a soothing piano exploration

Nathan Hopp, photos by Andrea Paulseth

Kurt Fischer will release a new collection of recordings dedicated to his love for the piano at a show on Nov. 15.
Kurt Fischer will release a new collection of recordings dedicated to his love for the piano at a show on Nov. 15.

Two years after his debut album, Soundscapes, Kurt Fischer of Eau Claire is releasing a new collection of recordings dedicated to his love for the piano. Aptly titled Piano Breaking, this album consists of nine instrumental solos that pull audiences into a calming, meditative state as they listen to every ethereal keystroke.

Each song was played and composed on an upright Yamaha U2 piano muted with felt in order to change the tone. After some debate, Fischer decided on the Yamaha after falling in love with the instrument’s tone and the style associated with it. Microphones were carefully placed in front of the strings, angled downward to record percussiveness and perfectly capture each sound. 

Fischer muted the piano with felt and installed pickups for delay effects resulting in an album of calming, meditative music. In fact, the album cover shows the pick-ups, the piano strings, and the strips underneath.

Fischer has been playing the piano for more than 40 years. He works as a solo artist and performs in collaborations with Irie Sol and a few other local bands. He wanted to create a piano album that is a hybrid of acoustic and electronic sounds, having been influenced by both the classical and New Age genres, particularly by the likes of jazz pianist Keith Jarret, composer Frédéric Chopin, and modern pianists such as Nils Frahm. 

“I guess I appreciate the art,” Fischer said. “I enjoy listening to different styles, jazz and classical included.”

Piano Breaking has a few different meanings, but Fischer thinks the album title is more along the lines of taming an animal, such as a horse – bending it to somebody’s will. Per Fischer’s words, the album is solo acoustic piano as a whole, and each of the songs was intended to be unique. 

“I am very excited,” he said. “It’s one of those things where you spend a bunch of time and effort getting it out into the world.”


Kurt Fischer will release Piano Breaking at 7pm Friday, Nov. 15, at The Red Mixer (2526 Golf Road, Eau Claire). He will perform works from the album peppered with covers of Nils Frahm, one of the musicians who inspired him. You can find Fischer online at facebook.com and at cdbaby.com/artist/kurtfrederickfischer.