Tilted Axes Musicians Fund is Over 50%!



Tilted Axes Concert of Colors Musicians Fund at 50%!

Thank you everybody who have so far supported our upcoming 27th Annual Concert of Colorsperformances at the Michigan Science Center and the Detroit Institute of Arts. We just crossed the 50% mark toward our goal of $4500. Your tax-deductible support goes toward our dozen and a half musicians for their time and talent, the cost of our rehersal space, cartage, ads, and other essentials that enables us to bring our performances free of cost to the public.

The festival itself and our partner museums provide excellent opportunities for the group to offer transformative experiences that are free of charge to the Detroit community. Still, Tilted Axes is entirely self-funded and relies on your generous support to pay for its musicians, rehearsal space, and other administrative costs. Please consider joining our team and contribute to Detroit’s musical history!

 This month will see the completion of a particular project that has long been a dream of mine: music for live ensemble in a planetarium. The idea is to engage the public in science through music and art. Thanks to the 27th Annual Concert of Colors, the Michigan Science Center, and the Detroit Institute of Arts, I’ve had the opportunity to develop new music for Tilted Axes: Music for Mobile Electric Guitars that commemorates the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s lunar landing in a work titled, “MOONWALK.” My aim is to take this newly developed piece and similar work to other planetariums across the country in the months and years to come. 

 By becoming a co-producer of our event, you are eligible for all kinds of awards like CDs, T-Shirts, etc.

Go to: https://fundraising.fracturedatlas.org/tilted-axes-music-for-mobile-electric-guitars/campaigns/2770

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Meet the performers and producers of Tilted Axes Detroit: Concert of Colors HERE


Tilted Axes is…

With the project is in its ninth year, its surprising to hear when some people find it unclear what Tilted Axes is or is not. Here’s a short list of 10 things that was created to point people in the right direction. Pardon the third person…

1. Tilted Axes is a musical project created by composer Patrick Grant.

2. Tilted Axes is a procession of electric guitarists who wear mini-amps.

3. Tilted Axes can perform anywhere there are people, excelling in untraditional venues.

4. Tilted Axes’ roster of musicians can change from performance to performance, city to city.

5. Tilted Axes’ musicians learn a common repertoire created by PG and rehearse it in workshops.

6. Tilted Axes performances are free to the public and are supported through institutional and/or private donations.

7. Tilted Axes takes on aspects of spectacle informed by municipal band tradition, avant-garde theater, and world music.

8. Tilted Axes takes music out into the world and seeks transformative projects meant to change community conversation.

9. Tilted Axes is an apolitical organization, but it does support science, arts programs, and renewable energy whenever possible.

10. Tilted Axes works best when it is part of something bigger than itself i.e. festivals, exhibitions, community initiatives, astronomical events.


Every little will help create a new musical work that will resonate for a long time.

Thank you all for your time and consideration,
Patrick Grant & Tilted Axes: Music for Mobile Electric Guitars

Concert of Colors Announces 2019 Lineup

CONCERT OF COLORS Press Conference at the DIA

Concert of Colors 2019 PDF brochurehttps://bit.ly/2H9cjFJ

CONCERT OF COLORS Press Conference May 9th at 11:30 am, Crystal Gallery at the DIA (Detroit Institute of Arts). Doors open at 11. Hear the lineup and news of this year’s world music festival!

The Detroit Free Press

“…The following seven days will bring a variety of performances and events, including a mobile electric-guitar procession by TILTED AXES and screenings of films such as “Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami” and “God Said Give ‘Em Drum Machines: The Story of Detroit Techno.”

Hour Detroit

“…Performers include Tilted Axes, a traveling guitar processional that will honor the 50th anniversary of the moon landing with a piece titled “Moonwalk;” Toby Foyeh and Orchestra Africa, a traditional Nigerian Yoruba music group; and Jordanian Palestinian electronic music group 47Soul.

On July 13, the festival will host the Detroit All-Star Revue concert. The concert is curated by successful Detroit producer Don Was, and it celebrates the 60th anniversary of Motown. Performers include Martha Reeves, Mitch Ryder, Carolyn Crawford, The Drinkard Sisters, Kenny Watson, and many more.”

The MMiXdown Goes to Motown for the DEMF (Updated)

Post DEMF Update:

What a time that was. According to reports, over 83,000 people came down last weekend to Hart Plaza in Detroit to take part in the Detroit Electronic Music Festival. Truly, the best artists in this genre were there, representing many countries and continents besides those from Techno’s birthplace, Detroit.

The view from the hotel room at the Greektown Casino-Hotel. Canada can be seen across the river behind the Renaissance Center (left).

Two observations: the performers that were the most successful (in our opinion), that connected with the audience on a performative level, we’re those that actually had people on stage playing an instrument in addition to the laptop and turntable-driven music. The other was that many groups, no matter where they were from, incorporated many microtonal elements, that is, riffs and patterns that did not adhere to any equal-tempered scale. In fact, many of these were retro analog timbres that grunted and groaned in between the notes, sounding very vocal-like (in all octaves) and sometimes imitative of a guitarist’s bending of the strings.

It should be said too that, even though dance music was to the fore at night, that, during the day, the main stage was reserved for ambient artists and experimenters from all over who, with their dedicated followers in attendance, were so grateful, as was I, to hear their work on such a massive and very clean sound system.

The "Made in Detroit" logo created by Robert Stanzler in 1981.

We had to miss the third and final day to get back to our work and concerts here, BUT, the techniques and great vibes we brought back are going to last for some time. What a musical city, no matter the decade, no matter the style. Inclusive as hell. Everyone is welcome. We look forward to returning in the coming year.

May 29, 2010, Hart Plaza, Detroit – Evening performance excerpts by Josh Wink (USA), Claude VonStroke (USA), A-Trak (Canada), and Richie Hawtin a.k.a. PLASTIKMAN (UK).

Excerpts of the evening’s performances by Derrick Carter (Chicago), Kraak & Smaak (Netherlands), Rolando (Detroit), Robert Hood (Detroit), Ricardo Villalobos (Chile), and finishing the night on the Main Stage, hometown hero Kevin Saunderson’s INNER CITY (Detroit).


The Detroit Electronic Music Festival a.k.a. MOVEMENT 2010

The MMiXdown goes to Motown this coming May 29-31 for the Detroit Electronic Music Festival, also known as Movement, for its 2010 edition.

Time Out New York‘s Bruce Tantum described the festival in a recent article:

Detroit: It’s a prime example of urban decay; it’s the poster child for the failings of the capitalist system. But whatever its shortcomings, the city has one very big thing going for it: Its musical history is as rich as it comes. From the jazz and blues of its Black Bottom neighborhood, through the emotion-soaked soul of Motown and the cosmic grooves of Parliament-Funkadelic, to the jam-kicking punch of the MC5 and the Stooges, Detroit has long shown a sonic sensibility that outshines 99 percent of other towns its size. Since the mid-’80s (a quarter century—can you believe it?), one of the sounds that’s had the world cocking an ear toward Detroit is Techno, so it shouldn’t be surprising that one of the world’s leading celebrations of electronic dance music takes place in the Motor City. This coming Memorial Day weekend, that blowout—the annual Movement festival—takes over downtown Detroit’s Hart Plaza, with scores of after-parties helping to spread the techno gospel.

The three-day event attracts the top echelon of techno’s artists and DJs. This year’s headliners are hometown heroes Richie Hawtin (in his Plastikman guise), Juan Atkins (in Model 500 mode) and Kevin Saunderson (performing with his classic Inner City combo, the group responsible for late-’80s technopop hits like “Good Life” and “Big Fun”). And the rest of the scene’s elites will be on hand as well, with American stars such as Claude VonStroke and the Martinez Brothers mingling with international superstars like Ricardo Villalobos and Michael Mayer. (That’s not to mention wild cards along the lines of funk fiend Mr. Scruff and dubstep doyen Martyn, nor the dozens of other big names playing at unofficial ancillary events.) But despite the scope of the festival, Movement executive director Jason Huvaere sounded remarkably calm … “I only panic when I look at the calendar,” he jokes. “But it is a massive amount of work. When this festival began in 2000, I think a lot of people tried to treat it as a part-time job, and I can tell you, it is not. This is a 365-day-a-year job. We don’t have a couple of artists; we have 100 artists. We don’t have one stage; we have five. We don’t have 2,500 people every day; we have 25,000. The scale is immense.”

Read the full article HERE.

PLASTIK FANTASTIC Richie Hawtin’s set of brooding techno, performed in his Plastikman guise, is among the weekend’s highlights.

The Greektown Casino Hotel will be MMiXdown HQ while we attend the festival. Expect pictures, video, and other content when we get back (as long as we can stay away from those damn slot machines).

Detroit’s Movement festival runs May 29–31. Go to http://paxahau.com/movement for more info.

Patrick Grant


Hockey to Hockets? If you must XY, add a TS…

My introduction to a musical world beyond the Motown & rock’n’roll I heard all around me growing up in Detroit, and the pop hits from the BBC as filtered through the CBC from across the river in Canada, to where I am now was, judging by the length of this already overly lengthy sentence, a circuitous one.

Dad was all about Johnny Cash and Scottish bagpipe music (being a cop will do that to you), and Mom was all theater and movie music. Despite begging for music lessons at an early age (Dad wanted me to be a hockey player; he was on the Detroit Police team), I was at least given a Magnus chord organ and lessons on the guitar and banjo from my Dad’s drinking buddies at many an impromptu late night “soirée.” I took to that chord organ like mad. I was a 7 year-old Phantom of the Opera in my mind, going waay beyond the “On Top of Old Smokey” by-the-numbers type books that came with it. Even so, my most creative outlet was visual art, being the best “draw-er” in elementary school, mostly geometrical patterns (and I was great at Spirograph too!) and the gruesome gore I emulated from Famous Monsters of Filmland fan magazine. “Why don’t you ever draw anything nice?” It wasn’t until my parents divorce and my Mom married some Harvard-trained CPA ne’er-do-well when I was 11, that I found out “music lessons should be a part of every gentleman’s upbringing.” Yeah, right. BUT, if that was my way in, I went for it: piano and viola/violin lessons began, and a nerd was born.

Magnus chord organ

Around that time, the film “A Clockwork Orange,” originally released as Rated-X by the incipient rating system (along with “Midnight Cowboy” and “Last Tango in Paris” due to their adult themes) got reduced to an R-rating and re-released. The porn industry had made a joke of the X-rating by saying, “Well then, we’re XXX,” so it became meaningless. So, with an R-rating, “Clockwork” was able to air commercials on the TV. One day I heard it: the “glorious 9th Symphony by Ludwig Van” but, as we know, being “performed” by Wendy (née Walter) Carlos on the Moog synthesizer. However, I didn’t know what that strange sound was at the time. I shoveled snow like mad that weekend to make the $4.95 needed to purchase, what was to be, the very first LP that I ever bought for myself. Coming home, I was reading the back of it (who were these guys?) and couldn’t figure out which track I had heard on TV. I dropped that needle everywhere on the disc, but could not find it. What was up with all this classical stuff? I thought that was only used for goofing around in Warner Bros. cartoons! I noticed that one of the tracks looked a bit different in the middle, a darker color due to less activity in the grooves. I cued up that spot, and there it was: bum – – – bum – – – bum – bum – bum – bum – etc. It was the march section of the 9th’s choral movement (please pardon the WWII imagery).

It rocked my 11 year-old world

Carlos' 1970s studio

I took to reading and writing music right away, often well beyond my means of playing it (what else is new?) probably because I understood the visual representations of the patterns coming off the art I practically abandoned since hearing that first Moog. In fact, most of the music I naturally like also makes for fine visual art when it’s written down. A favorite joke of mine: Beethoven was so deaf. How deaf was he? He was so deaf he thought he was a painter.

At that point in the 70s there were a lot of “classical goes synth” type albums out but, despite some bits of 1960s Japanese anime, “Kimba the White Lion”, composer Isao Tomita’s takes on Debussy and Stravinsky, I was a dedicated Carlos fan (as was Glenn Gould). Aside from the Beethoven for Kubrick, the mostly baroque output of Carlos, beginning with “Switched-on Bach” in 1968, the attention to detail is still stunning, especially when you consider the means and the pre-planning that had to go into every track. Only was I to discover later that this was due to the use of “hocketing,” a medieval vocal technique where a single melodic line would be broken up amongst a number of voices. The best definition of a hocket I heard was from one of the curators at de Ysbreker while on tour in Amsterdam: “It is a monophonic way of suggesting polyphony.” That’s it! That’s why I like what I like. I like music that is made up of many interlocking parts, be it Bach, Steve Reich (“Music for 18 Musicians” was a 14th birthday present), Eno & Fripp, the Balinese Gamelan (three trips to study there), or now, in using looping software and hardware as compositional tools.

Here’s a gem I came across: a long out-of–print album by Wendy Carlos called “Secrets of Synthesis” recently re-released on East Side Digital. The MP3 here, using harpsichord sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti as realized on Carlos’ “The Well-Tempered Synthesizer,” are given as examples of how she applied this hocketing technique to, essentially, two-part material to get multi-layered and multi-timbral results, all on the 1970s rig shown above and two Ampex 8-tracks bouncing back and forth:

A long time ago at the Chelsea Hotel, producer, tenant activist and now author (!) Scott Griffin once told me, “You should never make pieces for solo instruments. Your music works best when it’s dense with layers.”

You know, I think he was right.

That time.

-Patrick Grant