Expanding her reach beyond contemporary notated music interpretations, Toronto’s Eve Egoyan has created her first all-improvised session with these ten selections. Her partner here is Costa Rican-born Vancouverite Mauricio Pauly, who manipulates all sorts of prepared acoustic and electronic instruments. Proving that she hasn’t altogether abandoned more formal performing, Egoyan includes sequences of lyrical harmonies, cascading chords, and key stops among the speedy note clusters, microtones, and dissected vibration that  take up most tracks. While Pauly augments his voltage burbles, drum-beat bundling, and programmed electronic whizzes with jagged picking on a thirty-seven-string repurposed autoharp, Egoyan spends more time on clipping and stroking her piano’s internal strings than she does on sustained keyboard forays or single-key emphasis. What that means is that tracks such as Braid and Height come across as if played by a bizarro string band. Underlined by stopped key percussion and swelling electronic drones, the pieces suggest a mishmash of bottleneck guitar flanges and amplified zither plucks that ping-pong throughout the sound field. Responses between melody and multiphonics are made more evident when an Armenian duduk’s nasal trills are melded with piano key extensions and electronic pitch bending. Some tracks even have Egoyan bending her vocal tessitura into multiple hums and sighs to harmonize with or challenge her own plays, as well as Pauly’s sequenced intermittent squeaks and whistles.
Already established in the so-called classical music arena, Egoyan demonstrates on Hopeful Monster that she could have a parallel career as an improviser.