The Squid's Ear Magazine

Meyer, Bedrnhard / John Hollenbeck: Grids (Shhpuma)

Bringing together NY drummer/percussionist John Hollenbeck, also on prepared piano, with Berlin bassist Bernhard Meyer for an album that blends textural rock, electronic and jazz approaches in 9 elusively calm yet structurally turbulent pieces, using complex systems of cross rhythms against atmospheric immersion, occasionally disruptive but generally eccentrically controlled and exploratory.

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product information:

UPC: 5609063800579

Label: Shhpuma
Catalog ID: SHH057
Squidco Product Code: 28747

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2020
Country: Portugal
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded at Funkhaus Nalepastrasse, in Berlin, Germany, by Marco Birkner.


John Hollenbeck-drums, percussion, prepared piano

Bernhard Meyer-electric bass, effects

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Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"It may not seem that way - there's a mix of soft rock-oriented and minimal atmospheres all along this record,sometimes making us think of the quietest instrumental moments conjured by Tame Impala or even Cigarettes After Sex - but both Bernhard Meyer and John Hollenbeck are jazz musicians.

With no overdub, this duo sounds like much more than two players at work, and that's because of the different sound layers they manage to overlap. But if this is not a jazz record, neither is a pop-rock or an ambient one, having nothing to do with the reimagination of the pop universe that Hollenbeck did some time ago to songs by Cindy Lauper, Daft Punk, Queen and Burt Bacharach. The music inside is to complex, to exploratory, to deliciously strange to have a label.

Immersive, but never imposing on us, it takes its listeners to a flight above ourselves and our surroundings, as if studying us in relation to space and time. A very welcome surprise."-Shhpuma

This album has been reviewed on our magazine:

The Squid
The Squid's Ear!

Artist Biographies

"John Hollenbeck is a composer of music uncategorizable beyond the fact of being always identifiably his. A conceptualist able to translate the traditions of jazz and new music into a fresh, eclectic, forward-looking language of his own invention, intellectually rewarding yet ever accessibly vibrant. A drummer and percussionist possessed of a playful versatility and a virtuosic wit. Most of all, a musical thinker - whether putting pen to paper or conjuring spontaneous sound - allergic to repetition, forever seeking to surprise himself and his audiences. [...]

Hollenbeck received degrees in percussion and jazz composition from the Eastman School of Music before moving to New York City in the early 1990s. He was profoundly shaped by the mentorship of two hugely influential artists: trombonist/arranger/composer Bob Brookmeyer and composer/choreographer Meredith Monk. His relationship with Brookmeyer reached back to the age of 14, when he attended the SUNY Binghamton Summer Jazz Workshop, and continued at Eastman, through NEA-funded composition study, and finally on the bandstand with Brookmeyer's New Art Orchestra and in the studio with Brookmeyer and trumpet great Kenny Wheeler. For Monk, Hollenbeck composed and performed the percussion scores for five of her works: "Magic Frequencies," "Mercy," "The Impermanence Project," "Songs of Ascension" and "On Behalf of Nature."

Hollenbeck's awards and honors include four Grammy nominations; the 2012 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, the 2010 ASCAP Jazz Vanguard Award and a 2007 Guggenheim Fellowship; winning the Jazz Composers Alliance Composition Contest in 1995 and 2002; Meet the Composer's Grants in 1995 and 2001; and a Rising Star Arranger win in the 2012 and 2013 DownBeat Critics' Polls as well as in 2011 for the JHLE as Rising Star Big Band. John was a professor of Jazz Drums and Improvisation at the Jazz Institute Berlin from 2005-2016 and in 2015 joined the faculty of McGill University's Schulich School of Music."

-John Hollenbeck Website (

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"Bassplayer Bernhard Meyer is living in Berlin since 2003 and became a major part of its young, exciting jazz scene over the last years. His unique playing and his remarkable sound on the semiacoustic E-Bass makes him an outstanding voice within the Jazzworld. His band "Melt Trio" was acclaimed by the press for the recordings "Melt", "Hymnolia" & "Stroy" and nominated for the EchoJazz three times.

Bernhard Meyer completed a master program for composition with Prof John Hollenbeck at the Jazz Institut Berlin and found as a result a way to deepen his individual compositional skills.

He played in projects like John Hollenbeck`s "DrumsBassBassBassDrums", Kurt Rosenwinkel`s "E.Coli", Eric Schäfer`s "The Shredzs", Claudio Puntin`s "Sepiasonic" and is a long time band member of singer Lea W Frey.

2016 he recorded as a duo with John Hollenbeck and for Wanja Slavin`s "Lotus Eaters" alongside with Nasheet Waits.

On 2/2/2018 two new projects released their debut albums:

"Other Animal" the joint quartet by the Meyer brothers with Jim Black & Wanja Slavin.

And "Murmuration", the first band as sole leader, a quintet feat.

Claudio Puntin (Clarinette), Julius Heise (Vibraphon, Perc), Peter Meyer (Git) & Andi Haberl (Drums)."

-Bernhard Me Website (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

Track Listing:

1. Black Rock Desert 5:31

2. Peace-Athabasca 6:03

3. Kozhim, Narada, and Balbanyu 6:07

4. Hydraotes Chaos 2:50

5. Subtropolis 1:04

6. Xina Bena Jordao 4:34

7. 105, Sangkat Boeung Prolit, Khan 7 7:02

8. Uluru-Kata Tjuta 3:22

9. Vya 4:22

Related Categories of Interest:

Clean Feed

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Electro-Acoustic Improv
Instruments with Preparations
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Duo Recordings
New in Experimental & Electronic Music

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