Composer Patrick Grant re-releases his first album “Fields Amaze (and other strange music)” on his label Peppergreen Media. It’s remixed, remastered, and contains bonus material.
In 1997, Grant put together an ensemble of talented musicians to perform the new repertoire he’d been writing. The result was his first album “Fields Amaze.” It was recorded at composer Philip Glass’ Looking Glass Studio and released on Grant’s own label Strange Music in 1998.
About the album, The Village Voice wrote that Grant’s distinct sound has "...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."
Building upon his experience at Looking Glass, Grant built a large home studio and continued recording new material. The pieces from this post-album period have never been officially mixed, mastered, and released until now.
The combination of the original compositions and these “lost” tracks is now titled “Fields Amaze (and other strange music)” in homage to the album’s original record label and as a nod to the ‘strange attractors’ found in Chaos Theory that informed so much of Grant’s composition two decades ago.
“Fields Amaze (and other strange music)” complements Grant’s most recent albums, “Tilted Axes” (2016) and “A Sequence of Waves” (2017) in its embrace of different instrumental styles and blending them into a singular sound. “Fields Amaze (and other strange music)” marks the moment when and where Grant gathered all of his influences and training - as a classical composer, a punk rock musician, a gamelan player, and a studious pop culture fan - in defiance of eclecticism and the splintering of musical styles. He synthesizes his elements into a new whole, “synthesis” meaning “the combination of ideas to form a system.”
“Fields Amaze (and other strange music)” features mostly instrumental music in intriguing and unexpected fusions of technique and style. These include powerful percussion ensembles, microtonal piano and Indonesian gamelan played on homemade instruments, classical instruments playing turbulent weather patterns morphed into music, sonic fractals that are - like melodic DNA - “self-similar and self-described.”
There are odes to horror film soundtracks that cover musical memes of 60s and 70s cinema, from creepy harpsichords to organ-based psychedelic rock, and everything in-between. There are explorations of the ambulatory modulations of French Impressionism and 12-tone music that is constructed to fool your ear, an angular pop song that kaleidoscopically explodes the meaning of its lyrics through the abuse of a thesaurus, and then there are different kinds of guitars: rock guitar, classical guitar, noise guitar, guitar as signifier.
Through it all Grant’s unique ability to find a through-line in what sounds like chaos is clearly stated and tuned into the wider tastes of today’s listening audiences.
Why re-release this album? It is the story of an musician who has consistently adapted to external change, but has kept his work intact and recognizable through every twist and turn. Current technology has helped to preserve and enhance the original tapes. This work can now sounds as good as it was meant to be and as a result, is completely current. It is a vehicle to include new and seldom heard tracks. Plus, the music can reach a wider audience now than ever.
Renowned musicologist Nicholas Slonimsky once said: “It takes approximately twenty years to make an artistic curiosity out of a modernistic monstrously; and another twenty to elevate it to a masterpiece.”
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