Barry Cleveland's third album finds the renowned guitarist and composer exploring the nuances of rhythm. Drawing from a varied palette of traditions, timbres and tonalities, the disc bridges the impressionist leanings of his previous releases with a more audacious, kinetic approach.

"Nearly all the pieces are based on African and Afro-Haitian rhythms, with a compositional process that began with improvisation," says Cleveland. "I spent months playing guitar along to rhythm tracks, just improvising and archiving the results. Over time, the rhythms became increasingly familiar, and my improvisational responses to them more organic."

Cleveland asked his group-comprised of some of the San Francisco Bay Area's finest musicians-to rely on intuition when responding to his compositions. With backgrounds in jazz, folk, world music and the avant-garde, the stellar cast infused each piece with myriad unique influences and perspectives. Unbeknownst to them at the time, they were also contributing to the music's subtle spiritual bent.

"Most of the rhythms are associated with a particular God or Goddess and are supposed to embody that deity's primary characteristics," he says. "I chose not to learn what those characteristics were initially, so that the rhythms themselves, rather than preconceptions, would influence the improvisations. Later, when we compared what I'd come up with to the traditional concepts, they matched up surprisingly well."

Through he's primarily known as a guitarist, Volcano finds Cleveland using the instrument more as a conduit than a vehicle.

"I try to get unusual and interesting sounds out of the electric guitar, rather than striving to be the next guitar God," explains Cleveland. "Besides using a lot of electronic processing, I also play with an Ebow, a Chinese Erhu bow and a set of Masley Bowhammers designed especially for the guitar. Then, once I have recorded the guitar parts, I often take great liberties in processing them even more, and sometimes what I wind up with is not really recognizable as guitar at all."

What listeners will appreciate are Volcano's pulsing rhythms, interweaving melodies and layers of evocative atmospheres. And while the record offers uniformly tight arrangements and expertly-crafted structures, some might be surprised to learn serendipity often collaborated with the muse to yield results.

"The guitar improvisations were typically fairly far removed from the music that traditionally accompanies the album's rhythms, yet they were often oddly integrated, occasionally in surprising ways," says Cleveland. "Sometimes, complete themes or even whole sections would emerge seemingly out of the ether; more often, simple riffs and rhythmic figures would materialize, then be absorbed back into my unconscious, only to reemerge later in mutated forms."

Cleveland believes Volcano reflects the cultural climate of its creation-one openly embracing the cross-pollination between exploration and evanescence.

"We live in a time when the borders between cultures and societies are becoming less distinct, and we are exposed to a wider variety of musics than at any other time in history," he says. "One result of this is the emergence of hybrid musical forms that incorporate elements from all over the globe, whether absorbed consciously or unconsciously, and I find that very exciting."

Anil Prasad

  • Modèle : Barry Cleveland
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Ce Produit a été ajouté à notre catalogue le lundi 26 décembre 2005.

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