|Greg Fox||The Gradual Progression|
|Warp||(September 8, 2017)|
Greg Fox — The Gradual Progression (Sept. 8, 2017) ★↑↓★ Nové metody externalizace polyrytmické virtuozity do nefyzických oblastí. Signalizuje smíření nesourodých hudebních podnikání s novou nirvanickou fází uměleckého díla. Konkrétněji se projev a následný přenos těchto energií dosahuje “prostřednictvím citlivého prostředí vázaného k různým aspektům výkonu” (např. senzory připojené k soupravě Foxových bubnů spouštějí různé virtuální nástroje vynalezené pro každý kus, vytvářející nové a inovativní tonální palety, se kterými pak Fox “komunikuje”, postupujíc ke každému kusu). K dosažení této divoké, ale současně řízené sonické synergie Fox používá těžkou sestavu Sensor Percussion, softwarový systém, zachycující vibrace bubnu a posléze analyzuje tyto signály, což umožňuje umělcům mapovat jejich ‘hraní’ na různé elektronické ovládací prvky. Fox sám popisuje tento hmatový přístup jako podobný “poznávání emocionality a tělesnosti světa svými smysly a duševními procesy — jako když se dotýká zdí v černé, nebo zatemnělé místnosti.” (Mluvení o fyzickém světě, tato postupná progrese také zahrnuje příspěvky od kolegů ‘HUMAN hudebníků’: Curtis Santiago, Michael Beharie, Maria Kim Grand a Justin Frye — každý z nich půjčuje nejen jedinečný nástroj pro mix, ale i jedinečnou energii.) Ale dost už těchto hloupých řečí o polyrytmické virtuozitě a přenosu energie mezi fyzickými a nefyzickými oblastmi. Greg Fox’s The Gradual Progression offers a new strain of spiritual jazz compelled by virtuosic playing and responsive music technology. Energetic and gestural, akin to an action painting, Fox enters a musical paradigm that allow his visceral percussion to evolve in polyphonic harmony with his compositional craft. The Gradual Progression documents Fox’s creative transformation with a cosmic cast of collaborators and elevated sound exploration.
Greg: “Kariéra, hudba, vztah. Mezi dvěma životními přístupy najdu spoustu napětí. Existuje přístup “ležérní plavby po řece”, který se do určité míry spojí s taoistickou filozofií, která umožňuje, aby se věci jen tak staly. Ale je tu jiný způsob, jak vidět dopředu, co chcete, a získáte to. Možná jsme nakonec všichni v líné řece. Možná, pokud se snažíte pomoci svému vlastnímu osudu, opravdu relaxujete v líné řece. Nevím. Stále se učím.” Location: Queens, New York, NY
Album release: Sept. 8, 2017
Record Label: RVNG Intl.
1. The Gradual Progression 7:04
2. Earth Center Possesing 5:10
3. By Virtue of Emptiness 5:46
4. Catching An L 3:26
5. My House of Equalizing Predecessors 6:32
6. OPB 4:40
7. Preponderance of the Small (Bonus Track) 4:58
★ “The Gradual Progression is a transformative collection of new music by Greg Fox. The seven pieces of The Gradual Progression activate spiritual states through physical means, Fox’s rigorous inner rhythms the mandalic vessel for unbound expression and arrangement. TGP signals both a reconciliation of disparate musical ventures and a new nirvanic stage in the artist’s oeuvre. Fox views TGP as an exploration of selfhood, and more specifically, the search for his true voice as an artist. Though such a journey is by nature ongoing, if not essentially elusive, the discoveries along the path are the musical riches of TGP. For his second solo album, Fox employs new methods of externalizing his polyrhythmic virtuosity into non~physical realms.
★ This transfer of energy is achieved through responsive environments tethered to various aspects of the performance. Sensors attached to Fox’s drum kit trigger tonal palettes, or virtual instruments invented for each piece, which Fox communes with in the post~Free Jazz manner. That is, locating and emphasizing states of universal resonance in solo and ensemble settings in place of demonstrating individual ability.
★ This is where the album’s canonic influences — and inventors — are most recognizable. Pharoah Sanders’ Elevation and Don Cherry’s Organic Music Society come to mind, though the guidance of master drummer and holistic healer Milford Graves ultimately made TGP possible. For Fox’s astonishing 2014 album Mitral Transmissions, Graves assisted Fox in adapting software that translated output signals from biological sources to virtual instruments. For TGP, Fox again used percussion to initiate passages whose intensity and vibrancy match Fox’s energetic presence and focus.” ★ https://boomkat.com/ Review
Danny Riley, September 7th, 2017 15:25
With the help of Sensory Percussion, Greg Fox brings us black metal fury and jazz fusion pyrotechnics.
★↑↓★ As an instrumentalist, Greg Fox is nothing if not fearless. His drumming style in and out of his best~known projects Liturgy and Guardian Alien has always been an intriguing and, dare I say it, unique prospect. A mixture of black metal fury and jazz fusion pyrotechnics for sure, but there’s something in the way he fluidly flits between these idiomatic techniques and a kind of rapidly rolling, free~fire playing style that is hard to place in any other drummer. He deals in those moments where the mind becomes unable to catch up with the percussive detail it receives, and that’s why he’s always been seen as so much more than a rhythm~keeper.
★↑↓★ But how does he fare when at the helm of a project? For The Gradual Progression, Fox has enlisted the help of a technological development made by a friend: ‘Sensory Percussion’ allows him to trigger sequenced synth lines by hitting the skins of his drums. It’s certainly an interesting idea, essentially allowing the drummer to accompany himself with prefigured melodic material. Where the album falls down, however, is where Fox over~relies on this this technology. The melodic structures he’s mapped out for himself can be interesting — such as in the sombre chord progressions on ‘Earth Center Possessing Stream’ — but they often feel meandering and forgettable when presented on their own.
★↑↓★ This issue could perhaps have been helped by putting the Sensory Percussion synths a little higher in the mix. Indeed, the textures Fox employs on the album’s opening number — flurrying synth strings and modular blips — are a little muddy and are almost lost among the percussive rumble. Things are much more interesting when he employs other musicians, the strange juxtaposition of fingerpicked acoustic guitar and snaking saxophone against Fox’s drum~triggered synthetic backdrop on ‘By Virtue of Emptiness’, for example, providing a mysteriously swirling and involving sound~world.
★↑↓★ Fox has cited Don Cherry and Pharoah Sanders as influences in the making of this album, and the parallels are certainly interesting. There’s definitely a similar search for abandon in Fox’s rapid, complex fills, but his is a much more muscular and precise approach to transcendence through free playing. While spiritual free jazzers often seem like they’re opening themselves up to allow the holy ghost to flow through them as music, in all his rhythmic precision and muscularity of playing, Fox feels like he’s propelling himself into the spiritual realm by virtue of his own exertions alone. Additionally jazz, especially the spiritual jazz that Fox references, is all about interplay — the sound of instrumentalists slipping and sliding over each other’s movements. Fox’s Sensory Percussion, in which the synths are triggered by drums and so are sounded simultaneously, doesn’t allow for this, and so things really are much more immersive when other players join the fray.
★↑↓★ A blink~and~you’ll~miss~it work with only six mid~length tracks, The Gradual Progression picks up greatly in the second half. ‘Catching an L’ seems to have a much greater sense of purpose, with a brash, squelchy bass line and discombobulated saxophone underpinned by a rhythm that manages to be at once head~nodding and mind~bendingly complex, while the rave~y synth stabs that bookend the piece place the work in a rather tripped~out mental space. ‘My House of Equalizing Predecessors’, meanwhile, is a headrushing ride through blastbeats and burbling ambience — black metal gone native in a jungle of new age synths, replete with its own flock of electronic twitters. Album closer ‘OPG’ sees a sawing bowed bass being tortured for its harmonics with synth ostinatos pulsing further into the sonic distance. And I better you never thought you’d hear Greg Fox go motorik.
★↑↓★ In the imagery they employed, Guardian Alien mixed a spiritual outlook with cosmic whimsy to the extent that one wasn’t entirely sure whether they were taking the piss or not, even though the music told a different story. With The Gradual Progression, one definitely gets the sense that Fox is making an unselfconscious attempt to forge forward with music, an unabashed statement for progression. Though it’s not entirely successful, one has to admire this kind of ambition. He’s made an album that’s hard to describe in both generic and theoretical terms, and for that we should thank him. I, for one, would love to see him take this attitude, along with the Sensory Percussion employed on this album, to renewed efforts with collaborators.
Story by Will Romano.
★ https://www.moderndrummer.com/article/august-2017-greg-fox/ Review
by DAN SMART · June 22, 2017
★ Both as a solo artist and as the rhythmic imagineer powering such distinctive ensembles as Liturgy, EX EYE, Guardian Alien, Zs, and more, New York~based, “post~Free Jazz” percussionist Greg Fox is all~too~familiar with the concept of music as “gradual progression.” So it’s only fitting that his just~announced second proper solo album for RVNG intl. is called…The Gradual Progression. Out September 8 both physically and digitally, Fox’s latest seven~song mission statement is being called “an exploration of selfhood” that employs “new methods of externalizing his polyrhythmic virtuosity into non~physical realms” and which “signals both a reconciliation of disparate musical ventures and a new nirvanic stage in the artist’s oeuvre.”
★ More concretely, the manifestation and subsequent transfer of these energies is achieved “through responsive environments tethered to various aspects of the performance” (e.g. sensors attached to Fox’s drum kit trigger various virtual instruments invented for each piece, creating new and inventive tonal pallets which Fox then “communes~with” as each piece progresses). To achieve this wild~but~controlled sonic synergy, Fox employs hefty doses of Sensory Percussion, a software system which captures drum vibrations and analyses those signals, allowing performers to map their playing to various electronic controls. Fox himself describes this tactile approach as being akin to “sensing the emotionality and physicality of the world with the senses and through mental processes — about touching the walls of a pitch black room.” (And, speaking of the physical world, The Gradual Progression also includes contributions from fellow HUMAN musicians Curtis Santiago, Michael Beharie, Maria Kim Grand, and Justin Frye — each of whom lends not only a unique instrument to the mix, but a unique energy as well.)
★ But enough of this tantalizing talk about polyrhythmic virtuosity and energy~transfer between physical and non~physical realms; time to actually hear all these incredible technical, intra~ and inter~personal concepts IN~ACTION. To do so, check out the video for album track “Catching an L” down below. The clip’s footage was shot by Fox and “re~purposed” by Sunshine Soup co~director Johann Rashid, and the track’s restless, morphing, funk~jazz pulse will have you nodding your head and sympathetically tapping your pre~ordering finger in no time.
|Greg Fox||The Gradual Progression|
|Warp||(September 8, 2017)|
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