Peppergreen Media (label)
24 August 2017 (released)
21 September 2017
Composer Patrick Grant re-envisions what classical music can be, merging in new technologies from the realm of ambient music and anchoring it all with the electric guitar. Grant utilizes the guitar like others traditionally use the violin. From overarching lead lines to stampeding runs to exploding flourishes, Grant's use of the guitar comes from a reverence of it as not simply a vessel for '3 chords and the truth'. A Sequence of Waves comes on the heels of last year's Music For Mobile Guitar, a collective project that Grant helmed under the moniker Tilted Axes which grew out of a performance art piece in which a roving gang of guitarists would take to the streets of New York City donning battery powered amps, creating fresh guitar symphonies. The critically acclaimed album went from moments of quiet Eno-esque contemplation to towering post-metal heights. On A Sequence of Waves, Grant reincorporates traditional orchestral elements; violin, viola, cello and piano which blend seamlessly with his many guitar layers.
The chronomatic 'Lucid Intervals' elegantly delineates the passage of time with a ticking underlying rhythm and woozy, swaying strings. A persistent and somewhat melancholic violin lead brings to mind the soundtrack work of Clint Mansell. The piece begs for narration as an introduction to an epic tale. Bangles and chimes wash out the outro into the mist. 'Prelude I' uses the guitar's strength of pedal tone based parts to bring on a wave of melodies and countermelodies that cascade like an advancing ocean, introducing the album's centrepiece trio of 'Alcohol', 'Tobacco', and 'Firearms'. 'Alcohol' centres on fanciful, almost waltzing strings that eventually whirl up into s frenzy. 'Tobacco' begins on a smooth swing, like having a puff behind a jazz club in the early morning hours. 'Firearms' is all prickly, like the crackle of flames or the peppering of artillery fire. Militaristic drums snap you to attention. The emergence of spy movie sonics ups the tension to its finale. 'Lonely Ride Coney Island' gives the synthesizers their turn in the spotlight with a dreamy, heavily '80s inspired opus. Light and wistful at the same time, a definite standout track.
A Sequence of Waves is a dense and immersive piece that draws visions out of its listeners and takes them on a journey. Symphonic music has had its share of dalliances with the electric guitar but often with composers who don't appreciate the value of its uses in pop music. Grant understands how to keep the power and mystique of rock n roll and incorporate it into his beautiful textural compositions.