The momentum of rock has not always followed a clear-cut course, but, here, in New York experimental giants, Tilted Axes mapped out world, they are leading the circuit in changing the arena from stadium-filled venues into whole city-wide scope events. Composer/performer Patrick Grant, who dreamed up this city-scape repertoire, combines the performing arts of theater, the grabbing energies of rock, and the NYC downtown arts scene to showcase a processional event and an ensemble of mobile electric guitarists playing using portable amplifiers strapped to their sides as they walk down the city streets.
Watch Tilted Axes: Music for Mobile Electric Guitars video here
Quite simply, since its inception in NYC in 2011, whenever a festival or other institutions wishes to stage a Tilted Axes event, a call is set up for local guitarists to apply to participate. An ensemble is then selected, and each are provided MP3s and PDFs to the music in which they are to perform and learn before the event. A week before the occasion, Grant arrives with the Tilted Axes members and local musicians to rehearse the techniques of musical performance, improvisation, and staging of the procession itself. A processional route is predetermined and placards and posters will be held throughout the parade to alert the public about the event.
Tilted Axes has manifested into the grooves and sockets of international events, having been staged in New York, Detroit, Germany, and countries throughout South America. The project incorporates music with ties to World Music and other genres and grooves. The procession adapts itself to the terrain of the city, mimicking the motions of the ever-shifting crowd and integrates city squares, centers of transportation and indoor structures like museums into its route.
The studio recordings, titled, Music for Mobile Electric Guitars, could be followed as a complete set or as sets within sets. It is best discovered in increments, since each track holds a lot to shift through. It shadows the same shift-shaping re-workings of textural textile patterns as the Titled Axes working environment. The album opens with the clear-cut, “Shapes 1,” that is wrought with an exquisite clear vision. The crystalline guitars reverberates with a unique and united tuneage. The chords and riffs circulate through time with a changed and charged musical standard. The track comes across as upbeat with a driven pulse that pulls you forward. Its mis-matched tune emerges with an electrified ambiance.
“Circulation in G Maybe” goes through the scales of the guitar. Every tilt to the scale is magnified with an infectious beat. “Titled Axes Theme” is a swirling, uplifting and soaring epic rendition. The undulating tide of guitars courses though the main body of this theme song and gives off the same deliberate electrifying presence as the opener.
The rest of the album condones the same impressive scale, like in “Rivera Court,” “Kneadle Variation”, “Alamo Tilt” and “Corridor 84 + Krimson Coda”, where we get variations of the same epic guitar performances but with a different slant under diverse courts and the such.
The procession promotes music that is redolent of interlocking harmonic layers and mixes percussion and rhythms into its compositions. Tilted Axes hopes to stimulate the growth of more festivals through its staged performances throughout the city. The group hopes to starve off the same reaction it gets from the crowd from its events for its studio album. Hopefully, this recording will, also, help with spreading the word on Grant’s unique vision on this experimental project. 8/10