Music For Mobile Guitars
An album of instrumental progressive rock… usually that would make me shudder and skip right past it, but sometimes you need to take a chance and see if this might not be a monstrosity. The good news is that Tilted Axes’ Music For Mobile Guitars is actually quite good and has enough going for it that it holds your attention for all seventeen songs.
This was put together by Patrick Grant who was inspired by his background in gamelan music and vanguard theater work. Classically-trained Grant conceived of Tilted Axes in 2011 as part of Make Music Winter, an event which transforms New York’s cityscape with participatory musical parades in honor of the winter solstice. When a festival or other institution wishes to stage a Tilted Axes event, a call is put out to local guitarists to apply to participate. When an ensemble is selected from the applicants, they are given via MP3s and PDFs the music to be performed at the event so they can learn it in advance. A week before the event, Grant arrives with members of Tilt Core (an ensemble drawn from the larger group of NYC performers as a means to explore and experiment with new material), and rehearses the local musicians in the various techniques of musical performance, improvisation, and staging that make up the procession itself.
So now that all that background about the group is out of the way, what does it sound like? The album has a touch of Devo in the opening song “Shapes” that really grabbed me right away. It was catchy and fresh sounding and set things up for the rest of the album. “Polymetric Patterns” has the feel of “Baba O”Riley’s” instrumental parts and was a definite highlight. Although it is progressive rock, the best thing is that it does rock and that is important, something a lot of bands forget and just try to be “out there.” Case in point, “Beaubien Blues” is a great blues rock song that really gets in your ears and fills them with glorious sounds that you don’t want to ever stop. The band is top notch with so much feeling and emotion, as well as fun emanating from this album; it is infectious and got a smile on my face that didn’t go away. The band on this recording is composed of Patrick Grant, Matt Grossman, Daniel Reyes Llinas, John Halo, Randolph Hudson III, Reinaldo Perez, Nick Didkovsky, Gene Pritsker, Howard Glazer, Anthony Mullin, Larry Simon, all on electric guitar…….wow! On chapman stick is Jeremy Nesse, with Dan Cooper, and Patrick Grant on electric bass and on drums/percussion are John Ferrari and Cesare Papetti. As you can see, this is one fully loaded band and they use their talents with such expertise and precision that it makes you want to see this performed live.
This was an unexpected pleasure with songs that stand out and no histrionics from the players, just a great performance and songs that are actualy catchy and interesting, and worth hearing over and over again. If you think, like I did, that this kind of music couldn’t possibly be good, you are in for as much of as shock as I was……get it!