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

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more

2020-03-17
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music world, and festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more

2020-03-06
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

John Curtis - Short Songs about Affordable Food – An interesting concept — and a successful one too, that certainly lives up to its title. There are 43 songs here, and only a handful break the minute-and-a-half mark. Some are instrumentals, but...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues