Tilted Axes: Music for Mobile Electric Guitars is Relaunched in Detroit!


Third Man Records Cass Corridor, Detroit, MI, March 20th. Photo credit: Greg Siemasz


The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, Dearborn, MI, March 23th. Photocredit: Jocelyn Gonzales


The 10th Annual Marche Du Nain Rouge, Detroit, MI, March 24th. Photo credit: Jocelyn Gonzales

We achieved the three aims we set out to accomplish:

1. Relaunch the project (DIME Detroit, Third Man Records),
2. Create new partnerships (The Henry Ford, The Michigan Science Center), and
3. Renew our audience and public presence there (The Metro Times, The Detroit News, The Marche Du Nain Rouge).

Come back for more details regarding more of Tilted Axes: Music for Mobile Electric Guitars in Detroit soon. In the meantime, see more pics of our recent performance on our Instagram page.

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A Very Moving Symphony with Strings and Bells

Originally printed in THE VILLAGER – December, 2018

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Angela Babin and other members of the “Tilted Axes” performance group jammed on electric guitars on “Cold Moon Consort” in Sasaki Garden at N.Y.U.’s Washington Square Village, between Bleecker and W. Third Sts. and Mercer St. and LaGuardia Place, before making their way to “The Cube” at Astor Place. Photos by Bob Krasner (L to R: Sean Satin, Angela Babin, Chad Ossman)

BY BOB KRASNER | If you feel the need to simplify composer Patrick Grant’s long-running “Tilted Axes” project, you could call it a marching band for electric guitars. But given the complexity of the compositions and the dedication of the musicians, that description falls way short.

The latest performance of Grant’s “Music for Mobile Electric Guitars” was realized by 24 musicians, including Grant, on the winter solstice, in the Sasaki Garden at Washington Square Village, “The Alamo” at Astor Place a.k.a. “The Cube” and the streets between.

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Tilted Axes: Music for Mobile Electric Guitars – Cold Moon Consort (Patrick Grant center with, L to R, Chad Ossman, Michael Fisher, Sam Weisberg, Sean Satin, Dan Cooper, Howie Kenty).

The event was commissioned by Faculty Housing Happenings at New York University — where Grant is a professor — as part of “Make Music New York.” The confab featured music evenly divided between older pieces, structured improvisations and premieres written specifically for Friday night.

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Getting ready to move out from Sasaki Garden. (L to R: John Halo, Howie Kenty, Dylan Sparrow)

One of the new pieces, “Tiltinnabulation,” was written to include another Make Music group, “Bell By Bell.” According to Tom Peyton, the leader of that multigenerational group of bell ringers, they were notified that their path might cross with “Tilted Axes” and they were given the choice of avoiding each other or playing together.

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“Tilted Axes” performers playing their “axes” (blues lingo for guitars) while crossing Broadway on their way to “The Alamo” at Astor Place. (L to R: Gene Ardor, John Lovaas, Aileen Bunch, Jason Napier, Angela Babin)

Happily, they chose to do two numbers together at “The Cube” and the result was a perfect combo of chiming guitars and bells. Guitarist Angela Babin, a “Tilted Axes” veteran, called the collaboration “fabulous!”

“It was like a ‘West Side Story’ gang meet-up, with music and camaraderie and solstice celebration love,” she said.

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Composer Patrick Grant at “The Alamo” with his “Tilted Axes” performance group.

Carrying an electric guitar and an amp through the streets while playing somewhat complex music is a daunting task, but the participants found it more than worthwhile.

“The universal joy of the people we encountered on our parade route caused me to transcend the discomfort I felt at not being fully in command of the music, the weight on my back and shoulders,” David Demnitz said.

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Tilted Axes: Music for Mobile Electric Guitars – Cold Moon Consort (front row seated L to R: Howie Kenty, Sarah Metivier Schadt, Jocelyn Gonzales, Jason Napier, Chad Ossman, Harry Scott, Sean Satin; middle row seated L to R: Sky Matthews, John Lovaas, Leslie Stevens, Patrick Grant, Robert Morton, Gene Ardor, Kevin Pfeiffer; back row standing L to R: Caitlin Cawley, Dan Cooper, Aileen Bunch, Sam Weisberg, Dylan Sparrow, Michael Fisher, John Halo, Angela Babin, David Demnitz, Reinaldo Perez, Jeremy Nesse, Jon Clancy)

Sam Weisberg voiced a similar sentiment, noting, “It’s a rush like no other. It was so worth the chronic right-shoulder pain!”

Grant made it through the balmy evening with a case of laryngitis that forced him to hoarsely whisper directions to bassist Sarah Metivier Schadt, who amply conveyed his instructions to the crew.

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“Tilted Axes cuts musical pathways through the urban landscape, turning neighborhoods into their own sonic narratives. Since its inception, Grant has produced a number of Tilted Axes processions in various cities upon three continents.”

“There are many unforeseen elements that we could never have predicted,” Grant reflected. “We’re thinking on our feet, we’re performing live, we’re adjusting to the public in real time. Being there, mobile, right up against the public, brings out musical choices that we’d never come up with in rehearsal. There’s nothing like it.”

Onlookers concurred.

“The public went nuts, in a good way!” Grant enthused. “We couldn’t be happier.”

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Detroit Music Awards Nomination!

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Thank you Detroit Music Awards 2018 for nominating my album “A Sequence Of Waves” for OUTSTANDING CLASSICAL RECORDING. An even bigger thanks to all of the musicians, artists, and engineers who helped create it.

If you or anybody you know is a member of the DMA Foundation, please vote! The award ceremonies will take place at The Fillmore Detroit on May 4th

Patrick Grant

https://www.detroitmusicawards.net/

https://www.detroitmusicawards.net/nominees

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James Moore: Strings and Things Podcast

The podcast goes unplugged this week! Our host, Patrick Grant is in the front parlor with James Moore of the Dither Guitar Quartet. We’ll find out how James made it from the San Francisco Bay Area to the new music scene here in New York. He’ll tell us about the strange playing techniques he uses on his recent album of  solo guitar music by John Zorn, and we’ll hear an exclusive rendition of a Chet Atkins ballad.

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Dither is an electric guitar quartet that includes James,  Taylor Levine, Joshua Lopes, and Gyan Riley. They specialize in an experimental mix of “composed music, improvisation, and electronic manipulation.”  They’ve performed across the United States and overseas since forming in 2007, and produce a yearly festival of music and art called Extravaganza!.

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As a multi-instrumentalist and composer, James juggles a number of musical projects aside from Dither, such as The Hands Free, an acoustic quartet, and a rock band called Forever House. He recently put out another album of violin and steel-string resonator guitar called Gertrudes, with Andie Springer. The pair formed their duo when they were on tour with playwright Richard Maxwell’s “Neutral Hero”.

The CD for James’ version of the guitar etudes by John Zorn called “Book of Heads” includes a film featuring the crazy techniques involved in the making of the album. Here’s a sample of what you’ll see on the DVD:

James Moore plays John Zorn: The Book of Heads, Etude 13 from steve taylor on Vimeo.

Find out more about James at his website: http://www.jamesmooreguitar.com/

Angela Babin: Strings and Things

 

On this episode of Strings and Things, Angela Babin drops by to work on a Melody Maker that hasn’t been out and about in years, while our host Patrick Grant restrings his studio-weary Les Paul. They’ll swap stories about the weirdest gigs they’ve played in New York City, and talk about how numbers and math inspire Angela’s current compositions. Then they’ll amp up for a special Strings and Things duet.

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Since picking up the electric guitar at 14 years old, over the years Angela’s performed in a wide range of venues, from Folk City and CBGBs, to BAM and the Berlin Jazz Festival. She entered the downtown New York music scene with the band Off Beach, and played guitar in the nine-piece experimental rock group The Ordinaires. The Ordinaires were compared to Philip Glass, Captain Beefheart, Henry Mancini, Husker Du and Stravinsky – all at the same time! You may remember their cover of “Kashmir” was all over MTV at the time:

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Angela performed with Homer Erotic, founded by poets Maggie Dubris and Barbara Barg, as well as the groups Alpha Cat, Inviolate, The Raging Hormones, and The Blacklite Orchestra. She’s currently playing guitar with the blues-based Gotham Roots Orchestra, formed by composer/producer Cristian Amigo.


photo by Marc Latrique

There’s a great blog post on the Prepared Guitar website where you can find out much more about Angela Babin and her work. Check it out!

Randolph Hudson: Strings and Things Podcast

This week on the Strings and Things podcast, Brooklyn native Randolph Hudson III is here to work on a limited edition Veilette-Citron guitar, while our host Patrick Grant restrings a favorite Danelectro.

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Randy’s going to tell us about the history of the EBow and where you’ve heard it before, and we’ll hear about trying to be an environmentally conscious guitarist when you also have a jones for tube electronics.

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In the late 70’s through the late 80’s, Randy was an active member of the Downtown NYC scene with John Zorn, Kramer, Ann Magnuson, Ralph Carney, Daved Hild, Coby Batty of the Fugs, and many others. He’s co-written, recorded, performed with members of Gong, The Waitresses, The Fugs, Psychedelic Furs, and Captain Howdy. Randy joined Magnuson and Kramer in Bongwater as a recording and touring member of the band. He formed a duo called Bowing with composer and electro-acoustic violist Martha Mooke, and he also co-founded EBQ: The Electronic Bow Quartet. He currently performs with Klyph Black, Joe Delia, and The Complete Unknowns, a group celebrating the music of Bob Dylan. In 2010, Randy founded the 2D/3D Blu-Ray department of DuArt Film and Video. You can visit him at http://www.rah3.com

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Anthony Mullin: Strings and Things

This time on the Strings and Things podcast, we have Anthony Mullin, from the merry band of head-banging hard-rockers called The Blackfires. He’s here to work on a very special Les Paul with a cool backstory, and he’ll tell us how his PhD influences his musical efforts.

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While he and our host Patrick Grant re-string their guitars, we’ll hear how Anthony’s parents played a pivotal role in his early days as a musician, and we’ll find out what riffs and records inspired Anthony’s blues-based approach to his own playing.

Hailing from Leeds, England, Anthony joins an international crew of dedicated rockers in The Blackfires and the group is in a significant moment in their career. Enthusiastically described as a “hard rock circus,” their live shows garner raves for the rollicking energy and potency of the band’s performances.

The Blackfires – photo: loudwire.com

After opening for Aerosmith in Russia and continuing a busy live schedule, the band heads into the studio this summer to work on a new album. Your can find out more about Anthony and The Blackfires at their website, theblackfires.com.