FIELDS AMAZE (& other sTRANGE Music) 20th anniversary edition

FA-2018-cover-721-800

remixed + remastered + bonus tracks
coming soon

Press Release 7/21 update

Recorded at Philip Glass’ Looking Glass Studios and at sTUDIO 41 NYC.
Originally released on the sTRANGE Music label.

1. Keeping Still
extended percussion quintet

2. Fields Amaze
homemade gamelan and microtonal keyboard

3. A Visible Track of Turbulence 1
flute, clarinet, and piano 4-hands

4. Everything Distinct: Everything the Same
three keyboards in Gb just intonation and three percussion

5. A Visible Track of Turbulence 2
flute, clarinet, and piano 4-hands

6. Imaginary Horror Film 1
chamber prog ensemble

7. The Weights of Numbers
aka Fractured Fictions 
three keyboards and drums

8. Imaginary Horror Film 2
chamber prog ensemble

9. If One Should Happen to Fall
six words vs. thesaurus

“…a driving and rather harsh energy redolent of rock, as well as a clean sense of melodicism … the music’s momentum and intricate cross-rhythms rarely let up, making the occasional infectious tunes that emerge all the more beautiful for surprise.” – The Village Voice

Patrick Grant: piano, keyboards, electric guitars, gamelan, percussion – Kathleen Supove & Marija Ilic: keyboards – John Ferrari: drums & percussion – Barbara Benary: additional gamelan – David Simons: Balinese percussion & theremin – Keith Bonner: flute – Thomas P. Oberle: clarinet – Darryl Gregory: trombone – Martha Mooke: viola – Maxine Neumann: cello – Mark Steven Brooks: electric bass – Alexandra Montano: vocalise – Lisa Karrer: lead vocal on If One Should Happen to Fall.

Tracks 2, 3, 4, 5 recorded and edited at The Looking Glass Studios, NYC, 1997 – Garry Rindfuss: recording engineer – Dante DeSole: asst. engineer and editor – Ryoji Hata: asst. editor – Amanda Riesman: administration – gamelan instruments provided by Barbara Benary and Gamelan Son of Lion – large kendang drum and additional gongs provided by Skip LaPlante and Music for Homemade Instruments – originally released on the album Attack Decay Sustain Release by sTRANGE Music Records 1998 – Tracks 1, 6, 7, 8, 9 recorded at sTUDIO 41, NYC, 1998-2000 – Patrick Grant: recording engineer and editor – originally released as a Special Edition EP for the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAMcafé Live) by sTRANGE Music Records, 2000.

All 2018 production, overdubs, revisions, and new stems recorded at Peppergreen Media, NYC and The Ferrari Factory, NJ. Mixed at Mercy Sound Studios, NYC – Garry Rindfuss: mixing engineer – Sheldon Steiger: album mastering – Patrick Grant: producer

All music © 1997-2018 Patrick Grant and published by Peppergreen Media (ASCAP). This album ℗ 2018. All rights reserved.

Cover photo Cuming Co. Supercell, June 14, 2013 taken by Dave Rebot and used with permission. Album artwork, layout, and design by Eric Iverson. Peppergreen Media logo by Steve Ball. CD image collage created from Elément bleu XII, 1967 by Jean Dubuffet, photo credit: sTRANGE Music Inc.

Thanks and acknowledgements: The Braunschweig Family, Coudert Brothers, Bank Julius Baer, Matthews Panariello P.C., Chris LaBarbiera, Patricia McKenna, Context Studios, Music Under Construction, Philip Glass, Kurt Munkacsi, Jed Distler & Composers Collaborative Inc., Music for Homemade Instruments, Erik Satie, Kyle Gann & The Village Voice, The Bang on a Can Marathon, Stéphane Martin and the musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, The Ross Institute, The Knitting Factory, Patrick Grant Group, I Wayan Lantir, STSI/ISI Denpasar, Gamelan Son of Lion, Celebrate Brooklyn!, Johnny Reinhard & The American Festival of Microtonal Music, The Fractal Music Lab, James Gleick author of Chaos: Making a New Science, The Margaret Jenkins Dance Company, The Brooklyn Academy of Music, Harvey Lichtenstein, The Mark Morris Dance Group, The Prix de Lausanne, Exploding Music, The Living Theatre, Kalvos & Damien’s New Music Bazaar, Annina Nosei Gallery, John Schaefer, WNYC’s New Sounds, Ralph Valdez, WDET Radio, James Moore & Independent Music Promotions Inc., Jocelyn Gonzales, The NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Roget’s Thesaurus.

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Echoes and Dust (UK) Interview with Patrick Grant

echoes1

The creator of Tilted Axes: Music for Mobile Electric Guitars discusses his recent album A Sequence of Waves and his Detroit Music Awards nomination for Outstanding Classical Recording.

“Only classical compositions and that kind of inter-related album architecture could pull together elements of rock, world, and techno into a cohesive whole that goes beyond mere pastiche and that is integrated into its core.” Ljubinko Zivkovic chats to experimental / prog musician Patrick Grant.

Read the complete interview HERE

Les Paul – Coming Full Circle with the Original Looper

This blog wouldn’t exist if not for Les Paul (1915-2009). So many know of his innovations in the development of the solid body electric guitar, but there is also his work in the advancement of multi-track recording, tape delay, sound-on-sound looping, reverb etc. that we take for granted today. Before the software replicants that we use today, there was a time where, if something didn’t exist, you went into a machine shop and made it out of wood, metal, vacuum tubes and electrical components. That’s hardcore analog. That calls upon a wider range of skill sets than most of us have today and, in Les Paul’s case, than most anyone ever had.

Video: Les Paul and Mary Ford are hosted by Alistair Cooke on a 1953 broadcast of the legendary CBS show Omnibus doing a “sound-on-sound” performance of “How High the Moon.”

I’d been thinking a lot about him this week before his passing. I haven’t owned a guitar in years and I had just gotten tired of either borrowing my friend Gerald’s Gibson SG for recording or playing clean guitar sounds on my keyboard and running them through guitar FX plug-ins, that I decided to get one of my own again. The first electric guitar that I bought for myself was a silver Les Paul Standard copy made by the Cortez (!) company when I was a freshman at Wayne State University in Detroit. I’d decided to skip school that semester but still lived in the dormitory keeping up the pretense of going to classes. Money that was supposed to be spent on books was quickly converted into the cash needed to buy that guitar and an amp, so I could make spending money playing in original music bar bands at night. My days were spent giving myself a crash course in guitar playing that, thanks to years of violin, piano and theory that came before it, went very quickly. After moving to NYC and fully embracing the new paths that MIDI technology was taking us to, my bar band aspirations became a thing of the past. The guitar broke and was never replaced. Plus, I was surrounded by friends who were/are guitar wizards now so, why bother?

Cortez: accept no substitutes

Cortez: accept no substitutes

Yes, after moving to NYC with one of the number one bands in Detroit, that all fell apart. I returned to “serious” music, as I understood it at that time (I had classical training, J.S. Bach to Steve Reich, but the bands were a more immediate form of expressing Cold War angst, for this young man). I worked for John Cage’s publisher and then later, his editor, so that, coupled with my incipient work in avant-garde theater, saw me through a phase of trying everything possible: indeterminate music, serial music, prepared piano, percussion quartets, electronic soundscapes, etc. This led to a World Music phase in the 90s that was followed by a Neo-Minimalist phase because, with my keyboard-based ensemble, I was able to use non-tempered gamelan tunings within the guise of pattern-driven mini-epics for chamber ensemble. Still, it wasn’t completely ‘me’ yet. One of the best compliments I received from a live performance of a piece of mine for microtonal keyboard and gamelan at Celebrate Brooklyn! came at me like the kid who speaks up in The Emperor’s New Clothes: “I really liked your piece. It reminded me of The Who.” I laughed them off. But later, when I thought about it, when the piece was removed of all the ‘new music’ trappings, they were right. The road I chose may have been different, but the destination was the same. Since then, it’s all been about returning to who I was all along. My music has become a synthesis of everywhere I’ve been and everything I’ve done and that includes restoring the sound of the solid body electric guitar to my work, though with a lot more history behind it this time.

When I arrived in NYC, I almost felt I had to hide my punk rock/new wave ‘detour’ when I re-entered the classical world. I guess I was embarrassed about my incomplete music school pedigree. Worse yet was the embarrassment I felt (and still feel) for the Ivy League composers who dominate the NYC scene when they try to “rock out,” or decide to get all “downtown” on us. I guess it works both ways. To see it you gotta be it and, well, I don’t see it. Much. If hanging-in-there has brought me anything, it has made me come around full circle and feel comfortable in my own skin again with what I’m doing and where I want to go now musically, and there ain’t no degree you can get for that.

Playing a neighbor's Gibson arch-top 1980s

1980s: Goofing for the camera as Elvis Costello with a Gibson arch-top

So here I am last Sunday, 20+ years after that silver Cortez, looking at all the electric guitars hanging on the walls at Guitar Center on 14th Street in Manhattan. So many new models and guitar gadgets since I last looked. My trips to music stores had always centered around the keyboards, electronics and software. So, if I’m coming full circle, why not go all the way? After a half an hour of trying out different ones, I decided on a particular Les Paul Standard that seemed to call my name and felt just right.

Mind you this was before Les Paul’s passing today. I’m sure I’m not special. I’m sure that there were millions of musicians somewhere thinking about him every day. In the months, weeks, and days leading up to that moment, I’d been talking about him with my guitarist friends, building up the courage to get another Les Paul some day soon. My research led me to remember all the innovations that he’d made besides the solid body electric guitar: multi-tracking, overdubbing, looping, tape delay, reverb etc. Now these live on in the little machine before me that I’m typing into.

I had an Akai APC-40 to control my laptop on order from B&H Photo since late May, until they emailed me that it would not be shipped within the quoted 2-4 weeks. I would have to wait until September! Screw it, I’ll make do with how I’ve been doing things up until now. I canceled the order and put that money towards the Les Paul Standard sitting beside me right now. Sometimes musical expression has to be more immediate than a chain of gear that needs to be turned on, booted up, opened up, mixer on, speakers on, controller on… sometimes it has to be something you can just reach out and grab, touch, pound on if you must, and make some music with, dammit. Like now. That’s classical and that’s rock’n’roll.

2009: The new Les Paul Standard - I dub thee "Xanax!"

2009: My new Les Paul Standard

Thank you, Les Paul for always keeping a beautiful and musical balance between man and machine, and for an electric guitar that will sustain a note almost as long, but not quite, as your legacy surely will.

Patrick Grant

P.S. – The MMiXdown would like to give a shout out to Studio360 and to Variety of Sound for adding us to their blogrolls. It must have been the bikinis. Thanks!

Meet the Old Boss, Same as the New Boss

All musicians have a few pieces in their lives that, when they heard it it for the very first time, it was an epiphany, it was something that said to them, “This is what you were meant to do,” almost like a memory that had been implanted since birth had been awakened. One of these moments for me was when a friend popped in a cassette tape (look it up kids) of “Who’s Next” by The Who and I heard the opening synthesizer part to “Baba O’Riley” only to end when more of the same on the albums closer “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” How surprising it would be, years later, to learn that Pete Townsend’s sequencer-driven, phase-shifting rhythm track was in turn inspired in part by Terry Riley’s minimalist manifesto “In C,” itself a study in loop-based composition though played on an indeterminate ensemble of acoustic instruments.

Previous to this I had been learning the classics through the side-door of Wendy Carlos’ and Isao Tomita’s transcriptions via the Moog. The other shoe had dropped. I could be cool now amongst my peers, always a primary concern to a teenager. The Who keep me going until, without the help of MTV or today’s internet, new bands started catching my attention on the late night Detroit airwaves (shows like Radios in Motion and The Electrifyin’ Mojo) and I moved sharply away from classic rock into a New Wave.

The personal note above has been added to show that things change quickly, one cannot get stuck in a rut. This is especially true if one wishes to stay on top of innovation. To illustrate this, here are two videos of Pete Townsend. This first one shows how the electronic rhythm track to that “Who’s Next “ album came into being:

Now compare this to the very same, if not heightened, enthusiasm he shows in a recent video, almost a tutorial really, that, camera in hand, he made himself in the studio (still his fascination of loop-based composition is thriving):

I can only hope that I’ll retain the same open mindedness 30 years down the road when I’m confronted by whatever means of music making we’ll have then.

-Patrick Grant