DIALP028  |  5th April 2020

Atomic Legacies

“A nuclear musical reaction that produces great, irradiated beauty”

BBC Radio 3

“Her five part composition Glowing Radioactive Elements explores possibilities of shimmer and sustain, ghostly auras and spectral sonorities. It retains to a certain extent the feel of a journal of discoveries made, whereas Atomic Legacies, a boldly conceived and brilliantly realised encounter with the strings of The Ligeti Quartet, is clearly a foretaste of things to come.”

The Wire

“The MRP, to my ears, allows for fluxes between the lush swells of grand piano and acute controls that create synthetic sounds, in a subtly theatrical push and pull between physical resonance and digital sound, and a space between the two that cannot be parsed. This description suggests it is perhaps coolly avant-garde, but there is melancholy in ‘Actinium‘ and heart-swells in ‘Tritium‘. The title track ‘Atomic Legacies‘ is in a lineage of dense minimalism I can really get behind. Pestova Bennett brings proper feelings.”

The Quietus

“Pestova Bennett uses the six tracks of this album to explore this world, first inching outward on tiptoes, then in great strides, before returning again with the quiet assured steps of someone who knows their way intuitively. With the MRP, the piano ceases to be a percussive instrument subject to the laws of, in her words, ‘inviolable earth-bound principles of attack and decay’, and becomes a subtler, more expressive thing. Pestova Bennett is capable of smooth glisses, tone modulations that can be infinitesimal or swerving, and resonances that build, ebb and flow rather than just fade away.”

The Journal of Music

Glowing Radioactive Elements, the five tracks that correspond to the colours depicted, unfold in a well-curated and scintillating arc. The beauty of sound that emerges from Pestova Bennett recording this music on a piano with magnetic resonator – designed and trademarked by Andrew McPherson – enhances the sound world and draws the listener in, through dips and heights of pianistic gesture. The effect is akin to watching slow-moving landscapes in isolated, unfamiliar parts of our globe. The range of expression and musical material here is impressive: spontaneous at times and focused, personal and singularly driven at others.”

The Whole Note

“There’s nothing show-offy about this music as it broods and pulses with its internalised complexities and contradictions. The sounds continually evoke a range of allusions and references without ever settling into a defined state; a fine mix of surface and substance. Just beautiful.”

Ben Harper

“intoxicating, extraordinarily eerie and evocative”

Bernard Clarke, Lyric FM


  1. Radium |
  2. Plutonium |
  3. Tritium |
  4. Radon |
  5. Actinium |
  6. Atomic Legacies |


  • Xenia Pestova BennettMagnetic Resonator Piano
  • Patrick DawkinsViolin
  • Richard JonesViola
  • Val WelbanksCello

Choose Your Format


    • Recorded + Mixed by Simon Hall
    • Mastered by Antony Ryan
    • Cover art by Helmut Schweizer, Mike Christian
    • Designed by Max Franosch
    • Produced by Nick Roth