Danny Clay, Mabel Kwan ‎– Inventions

Parlour Tapes+ ‎– PT+008
Cassette, Album, Limited Edition


A1 Build 1 2:08
A2 Build 6 1:01
A3 Build 2 1:17
A4 Build 5 1:55
A5 Build 3 2:43
A6 Build 7 4:36
A7 Build 4 2:07
A8 Build 8 3:49
B1 Build 9 19:02



Inventions (PT+008) is the result of an ongoing collaboration between San Francisco–based composer Danny Clay and Chicago pianist Mabel Kwan. With a unique and exploratory approach, Danny and Mabel experiment with the clavichord and its universe of mechanical, tactile, and (barely) audible attributes. This soft-spoken and humble keyboard instrument is exploded into microscopic fragments that are stretched, hammered, broken, welded, and reconstructed to build a series of sonic habitats for the listener to examine, revisit, and live in.

The team first worked together on a piece Danny created for Pesedjet, Mabel’s trio, in which musical materials are organized and sequenced by the performers rather than solely the composer. Inventions seeks to emulate this experience in a more intimate and collaborative way, fashioning a modular compositional design embedded in the long distance relationship between composer and performer. Danny composed seven sets of material for the clavichord, each one exploring specific timbral properties of the instrument, which Mabel then recorded and sent back to the composer. The team manipulated and reorganized this mass of recorded material into nine distinct movements—or “builds,” as Danny calls them—containing multitudes of audio samples superimposed, looped, and continuously reordered. Once assembled, these minute sonic objects work together to immerse the listener in the intimate and idiosyncratic world of the clavichord.

Although at times challenging, the unique nature of this process allowed for collective new visions regarding the interpretation and reinterpretation of materials. Danny claims “our individual artistic choices—what I choose to send, what Mabel chooses to interpret, and how—result in a process and byproduct that is strangely, deeply personal and collaborative.” Through this process, Inventions hopes to offer a refreshing view of the modern composer-performer relationship.

Designed by Chicago artists Andrew & Hannah Barco, the Inventions limited edition cassette tape package includes a fold-out J-card and a set of balsa wood legs that transform the cassette into a miniature clavichord. There's even a cute lil' matchstick to prop the case up for PROPER VIEWING MODE.

Edition of 125 copies.