Monday, June 21, 2010

CD of the Week - "Barry Cleveland: Hologramatron"

CD of the Week
Barry Cleveland: "Hologramatron" (Moon June) 2010

Rating: ***** (music performance & sound quality)
Total Time 64:50
1. Lake of Fire 4:25
2. Money Speaks 4:40
3. You’ll Just Have to See It to Believe 5:20
4. Stars of Sayulita 6:17
5. Warning 4:18
6. What Have They Done to the Rain 4:55
7. Abandoned Mines 5:50
8. Suicide Train 4:20
9. Telstar 3:56
10. Dateless Oblivion & Divine Repose 1:54
Bonus Tracks
11. Abandoned Mines Forrest Fang Remix 8:00
12. You’ll Just Have to See It to Believe Alternate Mix 5:50
13. Lake of Fire Evan Schiller Remix 4:25

Barry Cleveland - electric & acoustic guitar, electric & acoustic 12-string guitar, Moog Guitar, GuitarViol, sampled percussion, sampled Mellotron, voice (8), bass (8); Robert Powell - pedal-steel guitar (1-5, 7, 9, 11-13), lap-steel guitar (4); Michael Manring - bass (1-9, 11-13); Celso Alberti - drums, percussion (1-4, 6-9, 11-13); Amy X Neuburg vocals (1, 2, 6, 9, 10, 13).

Harry Manx vocals (4); Deborah Holland vocals (4); Artist General voice (5); Erdem Helvacioglu acoustic-electric guitar, electronics (3, 13); Rick Walker chain-link drums, teapot (5), congas (4), dumbec (7); Gino Robair dumbec, kendang (6);

Forrest Fang mixing, processing, violin (11); Evan Schiller mixing, processing (13).

All songs written by Barry Cleveland except “You’ll Just Have to See It to Believe” by Barry Cleveland and Erdem Helvacioglu, “Warning” by Barry Cleveland and Artist General,” “Telstar” by Joe Meek, and “What Have They Done to the Rain” by Malvina Reynolds.

Produced by Barry Cleveland. Recorded and mixed by Barry Cleveland at ElevenEleven Recorders unless otherwise noted.

Barry Cleveland reinvents the protest album with all-star avant-rock line-up on "Hologramatron," released on Leonardo Pavkovic's NY-based progressive MoonJune label. When Barry Cleveland isn’t talking guitar with people like Jeff Beck, David Gilmour, Ry Cooder, Tony Iommi, and John Frusciante, he’s busy recording globally acclaimed progressive rock and world fusion music. For more than 25 years, his epic compositions and virtuoso, eclectic guitar work have been celebrated by critics and listeners alike. And for the last decade, he’s served as a key editor at Guitar Player magazine, holding court with the world’s most important musicians and enabling them to make statements to a massive global audience.

Now, it’s Cleveland’s turn to make his own timely statement with his fifth album, "Hologramatron," a 21st Century protest record with songs featuring biting, sometimes brutal, commentary on the state of the Western world. It’s a musical response to contemporary social, political, and even spiritual realities. The disc draws inspiration from a musical continuum spanning art rock, psychedelia, metal, ambient, world music, trance, and funk.

The cast of players joining Cleveland comprises some of the most respected musicians of the avant-rock scene, including bass innovator Michael Manring; Brazilian drummer drummer Celso Alberti (former collaborator of Steve Winwood, Flora Purim & Airto Moreira); pedal-steel iconoclast Robert Powell (Peter Gabriel, Jackson Browne), vocalists Amy X Neuburg, Deborah Holland (Stanley Clarke, Stewart Copeland), and Harry Manx. Other renowned contributors include Turkish electro-acoustic guitarist Erdem Helvacioglu, percussionists Gino Robair and Rick Walker, and cymbalom master Michael Masley, a.k.a. the infamous “Artist General.”

Cleveland wrote all of the songs on "Hologramatron," with the exception of two covers — Malvina Reynolds’ anti-nuclear proliferation anthem “What Have They Done to the Rain” and Joe Meek’s iconic “Telstar.” Bonus tracks include remixes by Evan Schiller (“Lake of Fire”) and Forrest Fang (“Abandoned Mines”), as well as an alternate mix of “You’ll Just Have to See It to Believe.” Grammy Award-winning engineer John Cuniberti mastered the album.

Cleveland is all about sound — from his guitar playing to his compositions to his production — and it’s the deeply layered, highly nuanced, cutting-edge sonics that unify his wildly diverse material. Cleveland’s earlier work was more ambient and impressionistic (Mythos, released on Larry Fast’s Audion label, received rave reviews in Option, Jazziz, and Stereo Review) and his last recording explored instrumental world fusion (Volcano garnered accolades in All About Jazz, Abstract Logix, Innerviews, and Progression) — but "Hologramatron" pushes multiple musical envelopes simultaneously.

In addition to playing acoustic and electric 6- and 12-string guitars on "Hologramatron," Cleveland utilized a prototype of the revolutionary Moog Guitar and both acoustic and electric GuitarViols — hybrid bowed instruments tuned like a guitar — along with myriad effects processors and alternative playing devices such as a Chinese erhu bow, Masley Bowhammers, and the Ebow.

Barry Cleveland is also the author of Creative Music Production: Joe Meek's Bold Techniques.

Barry Cleveland’s guitar playing is rooted in progressive and psychedelic rock, branching into ambient, experimental, funk, and "world music" styles, and he employs unorthodox playing techniques and electronic processing to further expand his expressive vocabulary. His latest work also features the new Moog Guitar and both acoustic and electric GuitarViols.

Cleveland released his first commercial album on Larry Fast's Audion Recording Company label in 1986. "Mythos" combined layers of guitar with Bob Stohl and Kat Epple's woodwinds, synthesizers, and light percussion; and Michael Masley's otherworldly bowhammer cymbalom. The CD received glowing reviews in Option, Jazziz, Stereo Review, the Stereo Review Compact Disc Buyer's Guide, and numerous other publications.

"Voluntary Dreaming," released on Scarlet Records in 1989, also met with critical acclaim. The music had an electronic edge — Cleveland played samplers and synths in addition to electric and acoustic guitars—but also encroached upon world music territory with the addition of Michael Pluznick's African and Middle Eastern percussion. Michael Masley's bowhammer cymbalom, and Robert Powell's pedal-steel guitar added exotic harmonic and melodic touches.

During the '90s Cleveland began a parallel career in journalism. Between 1996 and 2002 he worked in various editorial capacities and wrote dozens of articles and product reviews for Mix, Electronic Musician, and Onstage magazines. In mid-2002 he joined the staff of Guitar Player magazine, where he continues to serve as an associate editor. Cleveland's first book, Creative Music Production: Joe Meek's Bold Techniques, was published by MixBooks in the Fall of 2001.

The '90s were a busy time musically as well. Cleveland performed with the improvisational quintet Cloud Chamber, a group that included multi-instrumentalist Michael Masley, bassist Michael Manring, cellist Dan Reiter, and percussionist Joe Venegoni. Cloud Chamber performed throughout the San Francisco Bay Area over a period of several years, and released its critically acclaimed "Dark Matter" CD (produced by Cleveland) in 1998. During this time Cleveland also recorded material that would eventually appear on "Volcano" and "Memory & Imagination."

Volcano is an explosive mixture of African and Afro-Haitian rhythms and progressive, jazz, ambient, and world music elements, featuring Michael Manring (bass), Michael Pluznick (percussion), Norbert Stachel (winds/reeds/EWI), Michael Masley (cymbalom/original instruments), and other extraordinary artists. The 2-CD "Memory & Imagination" features the very best of Cleveland's critically acclaimed "Voluntary Dreaming" and "Mythos" albums on one disc, and nine loop-based improvisational guitar and percussion compositions, performed almost entirely by Cleveland, on the other.

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