Exposé Online banner

Grant Cutler — Self Portrait
(Innova 961, 2017, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2017-06-25

Self Portrait Cover art

Self Portrait gives us an interesting combination of process-based composition and improvisation. The composer recorded a number of musicians improvising with tape-delayed audio of themselves, then assembled the recordings into pieces. The results are mostly atmospheric, full of long tones that fade in and out, come and go, wrapped in a spacious ambience that encourages meditative listening. Cutler keeps the density on the sparse side — while it’s often difficult to identify the source instruments, there are generally only a few notes at a time, at least in the foreground. The background is often very deep, and could consist of dozens of parts blended together. “Part Two” is one of the few times when clarity emerges, with the sounds of an organ, violin, and bass clarinet (I think) identifiable and the violin parts verging on melody, though there’s also a sheen of rumbling noise that overtakes the instruments from time to time, as if a child were messing around with the open reals on an old tape recorder, altering the speed and alignment of the tape on the heads. “Stairwell” features a wandering piano part and long tones from strings for a bit under three minutes; “Paroxysm” is not as traumatic as the title implies, though it does sound like a distorted electric guitar may be among the audio sources; “Drowning” has a cello that winds around itself like a snake with an autoerotic streak. While there is a slight academic bent to the music, it’s not at all inaccessible for listeners used to minimalist or ambient electronic music.


Filed under: New releases, 2017 releases

Related artist(s): Grant Cutler

More info
http://grantcutler.bandcamp.com/album/self-portrait

Latest news

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Hans Christian - Phantoms – Unlike Sebastian Hardie, Hans Christian is not a band, it's a person. Actually, sort of a one-man band: Christian plays almost all the instruments, though he has a bit of outside help from...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues