Four improvised works from legendary French artist Richard Pinhas & guitarist/synth player Barry Cleveland, plus Michael Manring on bass and Celso Alberti on percussion; exotic and enveloping music that merges art rock, ambient, electronic, avant-garde jazz, and various "world" musics.
Pinhas, Richard / Barry Cleveland (feat Manring / Alberti)
Released in: USA
"Unfettered by genre conventions, Mu is a mesmerizing combination of entirely improvised music and Cleveland's post-production compositional development. The four long pieces unfurl as a confluence of overlapping musical currents informed by art rock, ambient, electronic, avant-garde jazz, and various "world" music inflections. Joined by two longtime Cleveland collaborators-electric bass innovator Michael Manring and Brazilian-born drum master Celso Alberti - these expansive and timeless soundscapes will have definite appeal to fans of artists like Jon Hassell, Arve Henriksen, Nils Petter Molvaer, Bill Laswell, David Torn, Brian Eno, David Sylvian and David Bowie."-Cunneiform
"One day a troubled monk approached Joshu, a renowned Chinese Zen master, intending to ask him for guidance. A dog walked by and the monk asked Joshu, "Has that dog a Buddha Nature or not?" The monk had barely completed his question when Joshu shouted: "Mu!"
Mu is often translated as "nothingness," but as the response in Zen's most famous koan, the gesture speaks to a truth deeper than rational dualistic thinking can obtain-therefore also resonating with the creative mindset accompanying the purest forms of musical improvisation.
The music created by French guitar iconoclast and electronic music pioneer Richard Pinhas and insistently inventive San Francisco Bay Area guitarist Barry Cleveland on Mu originated in just such a way, arising seemingly from "nothingness." The two had contemplated performing as well as recording together for several years before their stars finally aligned, and they played several Bay Area shows during the same period that Mu was recorded.
Unfettered by genre conventions, Mu is a mesmerizing combination of entirely improvised music and Cleveland's post-production compositional development. The four long pieces unfurl as a confluence of overlapping musical currents informed by art rock, ambient, electronic, avant-garde jazz, and various "world" music inflections. Joined by two longtime Cleveland collaborators-electric bass innovator Michael Manring and Brazilian-born drum master Celso Alberti - these expansive and timeless soundscapes will have definite appeal to fans of artists like Jon Hassell, Arve Henriksen, Nils Petter Molvær, Bill Laswell, David Torn, Brian Eno, David Sylvian and David Bowie.
Pinhas' distinctive musical aesthetic is facilitated by his Metatronic live-looping and effects system that enables him to create an astonishing variety of tones and textures and layer them into continually changing stream-of-consciousness soundscapes. His approach on Mu was especially dynamic. "Besides opening up fresh sonic horizons himself, Richard did an impressive job of responding to the rapid shifts in tempo, tonality, and intensity of the quartet, which is far from easy when using a looping system such as his," explains Cleveland. "His performance on 'I Wish I Could Talk In Technicolor,' in particular, may be the most dynamic and nuanced I've heard from him yet."
Cleveland's aesthetic is equally sui generis. In addition to playing guitar in the conventional manner he plays with a bow, a bowhammer, an Ebow, and other devices, as well as using sophisticated electronics and looping to access intriguing new aural realms. On Mu, he also played Moog Guitar, sitar guitar, Vocalizer 1000 woodwind synth, M-Tron, zither, kalimba, gong, and incidental percussion.
"Hyperbassist" Michael Manring's mind-blowing virtuosity is equaled only by the richness of feeling expressed in his playing. He and drummer/percussionist Celso Alberti, a master of multiple rhythmic traditions, share a near-psychic connection that enlivens their truly uncanny interactions.
In bringing together this singular quartet, Cleveland and Pinhas take another bold step with Mu. Given their long histories of innovation and experimentation it shouldn't be surprising to find them venturing into the unknown. But there's still something inspiring about witnessing veteran artists willing to follow a thread of inspiration into the void, only to emerge with new revelations. "In many ways," says Cleveland, "this album represents the culmination of concepts and techniques I've been developing my entire life." -Mu Press Release
Biography for: Richard Pinhas
"Composer, guitarist and electronics innovator Richard Pinhas is recognized as one of France's major experimental musicians. A pivotal figure in the international development of electronic rock music, Pinhas' stature in France is analogous to Tangerine Dream's in Germany: the father figure of an entire musical movement. The pioneering, aggressive music produced by his band Heldon during the 1970s, fusing electronics, guitar and rock, heralded the industrial and techno to come and remains today vital and unsurpassed. The 'Father' of electronic music in France is also recognized as a world-class guitarist whose "diabolical guitar work" (Progression) earns comparisons with Robert Fripp.
Pinhas received a degree in guitar at 17, and a PhD in philosophy from the Sorbonne, studying under philosopher Gilles Deleuze and writing on time and science fiction. He taught philosophy before abandoning an academic career for Heldon, his 3rd band, whose name derived from Normal Spinrad's writing. Over the course of his subsequent musical career, Pinhas' ongoing philosophical studies and interest in science fiction have fired, infused, and continually renewed his music."-Richard Pinhas Website (https://www.richard-pinhas.com/biography.php)
Biography for: Barry Cleveland
"Barry Cleveland's music spans a range of styles from ambient and experimental to world fusion to progressive rock. His guitar work is enhanced by sound-bending electronics, looping technology, and unorthodox playing techniques. Cleveland's lifelong fascination with spacey guitar sounds stems from listening to his parents' Les Paul records as a child. His earliest performance was at a junior high school "happening," where he created psychedelic soundscapes with his amplifier's reverb control maxed. Close encounters with a fuzz box and an Echoplex a few years later permanently altered his life's trajectory. While attending college, Cleveland played in various improvisational ensembles, followed by a year of touring the Southeastern U.S. with an 8-piece soul band. Cleveland's first commercial album was released on Larry "Synergy" Fast's Audion Recording Company label in 1986. Mythos combined layers of guitar with woodwinds, synthesizers, percussion, and cymbalom, as well as making extensive use of Terry Riley-style tape-looping. Voluntary Dreaming, released in 1989, encroached upon world fusion territory with its blend of electronics, African and Middle Eastern percussion, cymbalom, and pedal-steel guitar.
During the '90s, Cleveland was a member of the improvisational quintet Cloud Chamber, a group that included bassist Michael Manring, cellist Dan Reiter, percussionist Joe Venegoni, and multi-instrumentalist Michael Masley. Cloud Chamber performed throughout the San Francisco Bay Area for several years, and released the critically acclaimed Dark Matter in 1998. He also recorded material that would be released subsequently: Volcano (2003), an explosive mixture of African and Afro-Haitian rhythms and progressive, jazz, and ambient influences; and Memory & Imagination (2004), a 2-CD compilation that also included nine new loop-based compositions."-Barry Cleveland Website (http://www.barrycleveland.com/bio/)
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Shipping Weight: 4.00 units
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Catalog ID: CUN-CD-426
Squidco Product Code: 22658
Packaging: Jewel Case
Recorded at ElevenEleven Recorders by Barry Cleaveland.
Richard Pinhas-guitar, guitar synthesizer, effects
Barry Cleveland-guitar, synth, Kalimba, zither, gong, sampler
Celso Alberti-drums, percussion
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1. Forgotten Man 9:13
2. I Wish I Could Talk In Technicolor 25:34
3. Zen/Unzen 9:26
4. Parting Waves 4:09