Published on 13th January 2019
Patrick Grant – Fields Amaze and Other Strange Music
This release from Patrick Grant is a re-titled, remixed and expanded version of his 1997 album Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release. That album was mostly recorded at Philip Glass’ Looking Glass Studio, with Patrick adding extra piano and other instruments later. Patrick in the past has worked with a diverse selection of musicians, such as John Cage and Robert Fripp.
I am not aware of the original album, but this work is a top quality affair, full of interest and challenges that hold your attention. Initially you could find this to be not a particularly easy listen, more an assault on the senses, but one thing becomes clear throughout, there is a lot of melody to be revealed and repeated plays help you to peel away the sonic layers. It is this that draws you in to this wonderful musical experience.
All of the 2018 production, overdubs and revisions were recorded at Peppergreen Media in New York City and The Ferrari Factory, New Jersey, with mixing taking place at Mercy Sound Studios NYC. The mixing engineer was Gary Rindfuss and Sheldon Steiger handled the mastering, with Patrick doing the production. A lot of care and attention has gone into these processes which are demonstrated by the excellent mix and sound quality throughout its sixty one minute running time.
The opening track, Keeping Still, throws the challenge down straight away, percussively leading with some forceful stabs of piano here and there, reminiscent of some of Frank Zappa’s classical style. That said, Patrick has definitely created some original sounds here. The main focus of the music appears to be centred on the piano and the percussion, which dovetail and wrap around one another; the sound is further embellished with a wider selection of instruments. Your interest is held by the textures and melodies that are revealed through repeated listening as something new can be heard and enjoyed on every play, exposing the listener to an adventurous musical world.
Other influences can be heard throughout the album to great effect, for example Stravinsky on the track A Visible Track of Turbulence 2. The two parts of Imaginary Horror Film provide the listener with an enjoyable selection of musical adventure, dramatic, melodic with sometimes dark overtone, each piece playing out like a movie soundtrack.
Despite this album being a re-titled and remixed version of his earlier work, it sounds fresh, vibrant and new. An album that deserves repeated hearings to enable the listener to grasp the attention to detail that has gone into making it. There are unexpected elements to the music which holds your interest, sometimes odd unsettling rhythms sitting side by side with great melody, all of which make for an intriguing experience.
01. Keeping Still (3:50)
02. Fields Amaze (8:33)
03. A Visible Track Of Turbulence 1 (5:02)
04. Everything Distinct: Everything The Same (11:18)
05. A Visible Track Of Turbulence 2 (4:07)
06. Imaginary Horror Film – Part 1 (8:39)
07. The Weight of Numbers (8:38)
08. Imaginary Horror Film – Part 2 (7:27)
09. If One Should Happen To Fall (3:39)
Total Time – 61:13
Patrick Grant – Piano, Keyboards, Electric Guitar, Gamelan, Percussion
John Ferrari – Drums, Percussion
Kathleen Supove – Keyboards
Marija – Ilic – Keyboards
Barbara Benary – Additional Gamelan
David Simmons – Balinese Percussion, Theramin
Keith Banner – Flute
Thomas P. Oberle – Clarinet
Darryl Gregory – Trombone
Martha Mooke – Viola
Maxine Neumann – Cello
Mark Steven Brooks – Electric Guitar
Alexandra Montano – Vocalise
Lisa Karrer – Lead Vocal (track 9)