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

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more

2020-05-06
Florian Schneider RIP – Florian Schneider, one of the founders of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73. Co-founder Ralf Hütter announced that his bandmate had passed away from cancer after a brief illness. » Read more

2020-04-23
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Leo Küpper - Electro-Acoustic – You have to admit, with a title as academic sounding as this, one would not be unjustified in expecting a musical experience on the equivalent stimulation level of a botany lecture. That "new music"...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues