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Posts Tagged ‘composition’


LEAF Set Times and Stages:
10/20 9:00pm @ Eden Hall
10/21 6:30pm @ Roots Family Stage
10/21 11:30pm @ Eden Hall
For more information on The Lake Eden Arts Festival in Black Mountain, NC please visit theleaf.org

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Much like the earthly element from which they draw their name, the story of Songs Of Water ebbs and flows, pulsing with life, beauty and energy. Beginning in 2002, Songs Of Water started as a loose community of friends centered on writing and experimenting with different sounds and instrumentation. Most of the music was off-the-cuff improvisation that later grew and matured into completed composition.

That attention to the natural flow and feel of music even extended to the make-up of the group itself, as the membership rose to as many as ten and fell to as little as three, depending on the needs of the music. Stephen Roach (vocals, guitar, hammered dulcimer, mandolin, percussion, tenor banjo) revels in the “cross pollination” found within the band’s members and their individual talents. “One of the unique qualities about the band is that most of our backgrounds are very different than one another.”

Luke Skaggs (violin, guitar, lap steel, percussion, backing vocals) and Molly Skaggs (vocals, accordian, banjo) grew up with bluegrass in their blood, thanks to Ricky Skaggs being their dad. Roach’s own heritage came from his father and from his cousin, acclaimed bluegrass guitarist Tony Rice.

Marta Richardson (violin) and Sarah Stephens (cello, vocals) are both classically trained musicians who have played in symphonies. The line-up is completed by Jason Windsor (classical, acoustic & baritone guitar, mandolin), Greg Willette (bass guitar, acoustic guitar), and Michael Pritchard (drums, percussion, hammered dulcimer, acoustic guitar).

So what ultimately binds this collective of extraordinary musicians together? According to Roach, “we discovered it was really fun to play this sort of cinematic, explorative music in a live setting. It flies so contrary to what you hear in most live music settings. The music pulls you into a deeper, perhaps even spiritual experience.”

Shutter 16 goes on to say, “Songs of Water’s musical range, not only instrumentally but vocally as well, is an elaborate production of many skilled musicians. If Hollywood decides to revisit Last of the Mohican’s or another similar tale as they look for more stories they can just reshoot in IMAX 3D, I fully expect SoW to be the featured sound-track artist as Linkin Park was to Transformers. Songs of Water is not something to miss.”

Their newest release, “The Sea Has Spoken,” is a true collaboration of all members, arrangements with textures woven together by everyone in the band. Their focus on mostly instrumental music comes from the power that sound without words wields over all of us. By leaving aside traditional lyrics, Songs Of Water’s music encompasses the listener, leading them to reconsider music, life and exploration anew. Their music becomes an interactive canvas, inviting all who hear to joy in the act of creation corporately.

“The band’s music feels primitive but forward-thinking, exotic yet familiar; it creates a complete narrative in the listener’s mind with rarely a word sung. Essentially, their music is transportive,”says Ryan Snyder with Shuffle Magazine. Alli Marshal with the Mountain Xpresssays, “The whole record ebbs and flows with graceful gestures, sweeping strokes of light and dark, complex layering and effortless playing… the collection as a whole is so engaging that, surely, to see the musicians in action would only add to the experience.”

Ultimately, the impetus for the band’s existence is the desire to share that transcendent experience with others. The members of Songs Of Water stumbled onto a new form of expression that connected with audiences, spurring them on to further innovations. Hungry to engage even more, they are now pursuing this path to see where the road might lead. As Roach puts it, “Water can be a peaceful stream or it can be a violent tsunami. Our music has that same tendency from moment to moment. It may be a contemplative classical guitar one moment or a raging orchestra of percussion the next.”

And thus flows Songs Of Water, roaming wide and far to pull its listeners in with tendrils of music and beauty.

“Although listeners will hear more than 30 instruments on the new album — from dun duns to doumbeks — the songs still ring familiar. Traditional sounds from the hammered dulcimer, banjo, and acoustic guitar reflect North Carolina’s musical roots. All the musicians credit their North Carolina heritage for influencing their music.”
Carole Perkins – Our State Magazine
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www.songsofwater.com
twitter.com/songsofwater
facebook.com/songsofwater
youtube.com/songsofwater

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Called the “SteelPan Jazz Rock Star” by the Caiso Steel Band, Jonathan Scales is brings this traditional Caribbean instrument into the uncharted territories filled with jazz/rock metric complexities for the modern ear. Fresh into a new release of his third album, Character Farm & Other Short Stories, Jonathan Scales tours in Tennessee this May!

The Jonathan Scales Fourchestra is fronted by classically trained composer turned steel pan maestro, Jonathan Scales, who is heavily influenced by the complexity of banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck to the hustle of Jay-Z. Gritty blues guitarist, Duane Simpson, and fusion-chops bassist, Cody Wright, provide the harmonic support for Scales’ sound, while jazz/hip-hop drummer, Phill Bronson, drives the time-shifting, modern grooves. The cast of Characters hold this mind-bending concoction together with jazz edge and classical sensibility.

Come to the Fourchestra’s free ‘teaser’ set at The Basement on Tuesday, May 17th and let yourself boil over in anticipation for Friday the 20th’s show at the French Quarter Cafe, where they play a double bill with Nashville’s own steel pan master, Tony Hartman, and his band The Great Barrier Reefs. The Fourchestra also plays just 45 minutes away in Mufreesboro on Thursday, May 19th.
Character Farm solidifies Jonathan Scales’ place as one of western North Carolina’s most innovative and creative artists. Not only as a performer, but as the composer of all the music on the album, Scales is a groundbreaker,” states The Boone Mountain Times.

The album is a 45-minute dive deeper into the compositionally-twisted work of steel pannist Jonathan Scales. The nine original instrumental “stories” on the album take listeners from the primal Jam We Did to the lush Hallucinations of the Dream Chasers. The title track Character Farm takes the audience into a chilled, ‘worldly’ ride after the frantically emotional The Longest December. Guest appearance on the record include Jeff Coffin (of Dave Matthews Band / Bela Fleck & the Flecktones), Yonrico Scott and Kofi Burbridge (of Derek Trucks Band fame) and the dazzling work of fiddle virtuoso Casey Driessen.

“Through the album’s countless turns, Scales manages to blend in the very particular sound of steel pan seamlessly with everything from a flute, horn and saxophone to the oft-accompanying electric guitar, all while showing off the easily stereotyped instrument in a new light,” declares Kevin Jones from Exclaim.CA.

Show Details at a Glance:

Tues, May 17 ~ The Basement ~ Nashville

Thurs, May 19 ~ Liquid Smoke ~ Murfreesboro

Fri, May 20 ~ The French Quarter Cafe w/ The Great Barrier Reefs ~ Nashville

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Scales’ created a wonderful  Music Video for the song “Muddy Vishnu” from the album:

“…the visual for steel pan player Jonathan Scales’ “Muddy Vishnu” is almost like a Being John Malkovich set inside Scales’ own world of found rhythms, visions, colors, friends, inspirations and rare silence.” – Alli Marshall, Asheville’s Mountain Xpress


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Check out this in depth Q & A interview with Jonathan Scales by the CAISO SteelBand: Meet Jonathan Scales, SteelPan Jazz Rock Star.  To read the full article please click on the link.

Jonscales

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In a Q&A interview with Mike King Jr, Jonathan Scales, is living proof that there is gold in them hills of North Carolina. Mr. Scales breaks down how he was introduced to the SteelPan, describes his “Fourchestra”, and talks about making the 1st Music Video featuring a SteelPannist.

Mike King Jr:How did you become interested in the SteelPans & how long have you been playing?
Jon Scales: I started playing pan my freshman year of college (August 2002). I went to Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. There is a great steel pan program there, ran by Dr. Scott Meister, called the Steely Pan Steel Band.  No one expects that in the mountains of North Carolina! I entered the school to study music composition & theory and played saxophone as my main instrument. The steel band at the school has an open audition every year and I made the cut!  From there, I was hooked. I spent a lot more time in the panyard than practicing for my saxophone lessons.
MKJ: What was the inspiration in making the video for “Muddy Vishnu”? Is this the 1st high quality video featuring a SteelPan Musician? Who directed the video?

JS: Well, first, the title “Muddy Vishnu” comes from a stylistic mix between the blues legend Muddy Waters and the ’70s jazz/rock fusion band Mahavishnu Orchestra.  It was fun to write.  As far as the inspiration for MAKING the video…I’ll have to say i’m influence equally from pop culture as well as jazz & classical composition; the video is definitely my pop culture influence showing up! I have this crazy idea that I can somehow be a SteelPan Jazz Rock Star! I thought the video would also be a good way to expose people to my work in the same way that major label artists release videos when they come out with a new album.  As far as the 1st…man I don’t know about that!  I’m not trying to make any bold claims.

The video was directed by Daniel Judson. (See his work at danieljudson.com) Check out “Muddy Vishnu” here:

MKJ: What is the inspriration for your latest project, “Character Farm & other Short Stories”?

JS: My friend Roy “Futureman” Wooten (Grammy-award winning percussionist for Bela Fleck) had some long talks to me about “Long Form”…which is just the idea of making one grand musical statement as opposed to just throwing together a collection of songs.  Now i’m not saying that “Character Farm” is the perfect example of what he meant, but it was my attempt to get closer to that concept.  The 9 original tunes are packaged together as a group of short stories that each have an illustration in the liner notes to help the audience get a better idea of what i’m thinking in my mind about each piece.  So it kinda comes together like a comic book…but instead of reading words with each picture, there is music.  Digital downloads won’t do it justice!  The packaging helps bring the music to life.

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MKJ: How would you describe your music arrangement style?

JS: That’s a tough one!  Well…a lot of people find my music to be complicated or complex.  I think I use a lot of “advanced” rhythmic ideas that people don’t hear on a daily basis.  I mess around a lot with different time signatures and polyrhythmic phrasing.  Also I steer slightly away from traditional harmonic and melodic ideas.  So I guess you could say I try to take opposing and contrasting harmonic, rhythmic, and melodic ideas, mix ’em together and really focus on how to make that work on the SteelPans with my band backing me up.  My writing background is heavily influenced by 20th century modern classical composers like John Cage, Igor Stravinsky and Charles Ives; who were all known for writing some crazy “out there” types of music!  I use a lot of their techniques, but writing on top of groove-based drums really ties it together and makes it assessable.

For more information on Jon Scales Fourchestra: Music, Tour and CD’s visit his official site at:  Jon Scales

TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE WITH SEVERAL MORE QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS, VISIT: http://www.caisosteelband.com/2011/04/jonathan-scales-steelpan-jazz-rock-star-1.html

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Compositionally-twisted work of steel pannist Jonathan Scales “Character Farm & Other Short Stories” includes nine original instrumental “stories” and features guests Jeff Coffin, Kofi Burbridge, Yonrico Scott, and Casey Driessen. The cast of Characters hold this mind-bending concoction together with jazz edge and classical sensibility along with custom designed comic book graphics illustrating each song for the album artwork…


Asheville, NC- March 31, 2011–  The steel pan, an amazing musical discovery born in the Caribbean nation of Trinidad & Tobago, is often times associated with sandy beaches, tropical climates, and cruise ships: that’s not exactly what you get at a show by the jazz-fusion quartet, Jonathan Scales Fourchestra. Modern Drummer Magazine recognizes, “… Jonathan Scales makes the pans fit in unconventional musical spaces…” and Jazz Times goes on to state that Scales’ brings forth a “new vitality to the traditional Caribbean instrument… picking up where Othello Molineaux left off 20 years ago with Jaco Pastorius.”

Here you have a classically trained composer turned steel pan maestro and front man of the Fourchestra, Jonathan Scales, heavily influenced by the complexity of banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck to the hustle of Jay-Z. Gritty blues guitarist, Duane Simpson, and fusion-chops bassist, Cody Wright, provide the harmonic support for Scales’ sound, while jazz/hip-hop drummer, Phill Bronson, drives the time-shifting, modern grooves. The cast of Characters hold this mind-bending concoction together with jazz edge and classical sensibility.

As an immediate release by Le’Rue Records, the 3rd installment in the Jonathan Scales’ musical saga, Character Farm & Other Short Stories, is a 45-minute dive deeper into the compositionally-twisted work of steel pannist Jonathan Scales.  The nine original instrumental “stories” on the album take listeners from the primal Jam We Did to the lush Hallucinations of the Dream Chasers. The title track Character Farm takes the audience into a chilled, ‘worldly’ ride after the frantically emotional The Longest December. Guest appearance on the record include Jeff Coffin (of Dave Matthews Band / Bela Fleck & the Flecktones), Yonrico Scott and Kofi Burbridge (of Derek Trucks Band fame) and the dazzling work of fiddle virtuoso Casey Driessen.

Jonathan Scales has also been busy creating a NEW Music Video for the song Muddy Vishnu from the album which is available to watch on www.jonscales.com. Scales’ has a unique approach to his album artwork with custom designed comic book graphics illustrating each song with artwork by Gregory Keyzer. He’s also made available a glossy 19 x 13 poster with the comic graphic images.

Steel pannist and virtuoso composer, Jonathan Scales, formed his ‘Fourchestra’ in 2007 as a means to deliver his musically complex, yet accessible ideas to anyone willing to listen. Since then, Scales has released two well received, full-length works, 2007’s One-Track Mind and 2008’s Plot/Scheme which features the likes of Jeff Coffin, Joseph Wooten (of Steve Miller Band), and Jeff Sipe (of Aquarium Rescue Unit). 2011 will usher in Character Farm & Other Short Stories.  Scales’ versatility and innovative nature have allowed him to play along with with acts like The Wooten Brothers Band, Larry Keel & Natural Bridge, The Duhks, Everyone Orchestra, Toubab Krewe, Ben Sollee, Casey Dreissen, and Futureman.

Scales has been called a “…rising star of the steel drums…” by Traps Magazine, while Pan on the Net refers to him as “the Real Deal” and having “A Thelonius Monk-like attitude with a Mozart creativity that works.”  When Steel Talks sums it up with, “At the end of the day, Scales is going to be a major play in rewriting the books on steelpan music outside of the box.” With Character Farm, Scales has pushed the limits of conventional steel-pan yet again.

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Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP) developed a commercial for the Mountain Tailgate Market Association, and it begins airing today! It was filmed @ Flying Cloud Farm/North Asheville Tailgate Market, produced by local Patrick Cavan Brown, and features music from Galen Kipar Project . Check it out below.

Also Check out this interview with Galen Kipar by the Mountain Times in Boone. GKP plays The Lexington Ave Brewery in Asheville tonight 10/7 and then Canyons in Blowing Rock tomorrow 10/8.

Here is an excerpt of the article:

Galen Kipar Project meshes jazz with the funk

by Lauren K. Ohnesorge

It’s bluesy. It’s funky. It’s jazzy. It’s the Galen Kipar Project…

“I guess it’s kind of like a slew of genres,” front man Galen Kipar said.

Add in elements of classical composition with a dash of Americana and you have a sound that, while hard to classify, is just eclectic enough to work.

The Asheville-based crew can’t help but play off what they were given: Majestic mountain scenery.

“It’s influenced the imagery of the music and the lyrics,” he said. “I am a supporter or believer that art is a reflection of your immediate culture or your immediate environment. This environment and community have definitely channeled through in the music.”

A musical background doesn’t hurt either.

“I started playing music, I guess it was 1991,” Kipar said. “I found an old classical guitar in my mother’s closet, and a friend had just gotten a guitar, so we were kind of playing chords.”

A music education from Brevard College and several tour dates later, Kipar is thrilled to be back in the High Country.

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