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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Tilted Axes: End of Year + Audio Gift

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Dear friends,

 As you consider your end-of-the-year giving, I hope that you’d consider supporting Tilted Axes: Music for Mobile Electric Guitars.  All donations are tax deductible. You know that’s a deal. My aim is to rehearse a new group of musicians and to create new shows to perform for the people of NYC and new locations around the USA to be announced. Here is the link…

Donate now!

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Part concert, part theater, and 100% live, of all of things I’ve created, this project has had the greatest resonance with any public it encounters. 

As a HOLIDAY GIFT, here’s a link to listen to “Tiltinnabulation” created for the winter solstice >>> https://bit.ly/2BDpyvK

Please become a part of our team for 2019!

As always,

-Patrick Grant

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Peppergreen Media & Tilted Axes: Music for Mobile Electric Guitars

web page: http://tiltedaxes.com/tiltedaxes.html

Here are some photos from our recent Winter Solstice events:

FLICKR – https://bit.ly/2LwsIG8

FACEBOOK – https://bit.ly/2SfIA2g

GETTY IMAGES – Make Music Winter 12/21 – https://bit.ly/2EKErR1

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Peppergreen Media

40 Waterside Plaza 12J

New York, NY 10010

http://www.peppergreenmedia.com

#tiltedaxes @tiltedaxes

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.

Podcast Premiere “Strings and Things”

Please check out the premiere episode of Strings and Things with composer/guitarist Tony Geballe

http://www.stringsandthingsshow.com/

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On the premiere episode of Strings and Things, composer/guitarist Tony Geballe stops by to change the strings on his custom-built Nelson Fidelis TG1 electric guitar, while our host Patrick Grant re-strings his Rickenbacker 330. Tony tells us about his first guitar hero, and how he started playing in a Progressive Darkwave band. Then the Vox amps come out and they perform an excerpt from Tony’s score for a stage version of Faust.

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At some point every guitarist has to do it, so why not hang out with some friends and have fun while you’re at it? This is Strings and Things, the show where musicians come by to change their strings, talk about all kinds of things and make some music. We hope you’ll join us for the new Strings and Things podcast, a Peppergreen Production for Headstepper Media. Listen at http://stringsandthingsshow.com

 

Happy Anniversary, Tilted Axes!

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Four years ago today, Tilted Axes: Music for Mobile Electric Guitars made its debut at Make Music New York‘s 1st annual Make Music Winter on Wednesday, December 21st, 2011 in New York City. Now, 1,461 days past, the project has been produced in a number of cities on three continents. More to come in the New Year. Thank you to all the musicians, presenters, and sponsors who have make everything possible. Guitarists, bassists, and percussionists – you are the most awesome. Here’s to the future tilts that await! ~ http://www.tiltedaxes.net/ ~ https://www.facebook.com/tiltedaxes/

TILTED AXES TO PERFORM IN NYC’s VILLAGE HALLOWEEN PARADE OCT. 31st

“Monster Riffs & Tritonic Tintinnabulations”

New York’s Village Halloween Parade is an annual holiday parade and street pageant presented on the night of every Halloween in New York City’s Greenwich Village. Stretching more than a mile, this cultural event draws two million in-person spectators, more than sixty thousand costumed participants, dancers, artists and circus performers, dozens of floats bearing live bands and other musical and performing acts, and a world-wide television audience of one hundred million. The Village Halloween Parade, initiated in 1974 by Greenwich Village puppeteer and mask maker Ralph Lee, is the world’s largest Halloween parade and the only major nighttime parade in the United States.

Among the parade’s signature features are its pageant sized puppets — giant rod puppets “articulated” by teams of puppeteers — and its open participation to anyone in a costume who wishes to march. It has been called “New York’s Carnival.” Although the parade is currently not as informal and wild as it was in its earliest years, it is in effect still an alternative festival.

The parade has been featured in many national magazines and travel guides, and has been a subject of study by leading cultural anthropologists. According to The New York Times, “the Halloween Parade is the best entertainment the people of this City ever give the people of this City.” “Absolutely anything goes,” says USA Today. “Be prepared to drop your jaw.”

More iNFO to come at: https://www.halloween-nyc.com/

Tilted Axes web page: http://www.tiltedaxes.com/tiltedaxes.html