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MP3 Barry Cleveland - Memory & Imagination

Two discs of mostly instrumental music featuring processed guitars, electronics, and percussion, combined with a variety of exotic instruments—traversing ambient electronic, world-fusion, progressive, and improvisational stylistic territories.

19 MP3 Songs
ELECTRONIC: Ambient, NEW AGE: Ambient

Barry Cleveland''s guitar playing incorporates elements from diverse sources (psychedelia, funk, progressive rock, ambient, electronic, jazz, and a host of "world" music styles) and combines them with unusual sounds created using unorthodox playing techniques and electronic processing.

Cleveland released his first commercial album on Larry Fast''s Audion Recording Company label in 1986. Mythos combined layers of guitar with Bob Stohl and Kat Epple''s woodwinds, synthesizers, and light percussion; and Michael Masley''s otherworldly bowhammer cymbalom. The CD received glowing reviews in Option, Jazziz, Stereo Review and CD Review, and was chosen as one of the 25 Best New Age CDs in the 1987 Stereo Review Compact Disc Buyer''s Guide (in the company of such other "new age" recordings as Pink Floyd''s Dark Side of the Moon).

Voluntary Dreaming, released on Scarlet Records in 1989, also met with critical acclaim. The music had an electronic edge-Cleveland played samplers and synths in addition to electric and acoustic guitars-but also encroached upon "world music" territory with the addition of Michael Pluznick''s African and Middle Eastern percussion. Michael Masley''s bowhammer cymbalom, and Robert Powell''s pedal steel guitar, added exotic harmonic and melodic touches.

During the ''90s Cleveland began a parallel career in journalism. Between 1996 and 2002 he worked in various editorial capacities and wrote dozens of articles and product reviews for Mix, Electronic Musician, and Onstage magazines. In mid-2002 he joined the staff of Guitar Player magazine, where he continues to serve as an associate editor. Cleveland''s first book, Creative Music Production: Joe Meek''s Bold Techniques, was published by MixBooks (https://www.tradebit.com) in the Fall of 2001.

The ''90s were a busy time musically as well. Cleveland performed with the improvisational quintet Cloud Chamber, a group which included multi-instrumentalist Michael Masley, bassist Michael Manring, cellist Dan Reiter, and percussionist Joe Venegoni. Cloud Chamber performed throughout the San Francisco Bay Area over a period of several years, and released its critically acclaimed Dark Matter CD (produced by Cleveland) in 1998. During this time Cleveland also recorded material that would eventually appear on Volcano and Memory & Imagination.

This double-CD serves two purposes: Disc 1 presents the most enduring music from my Mythos and Voluntary Dreaming albums, while Disc 2 contains previously unreleased music that is related to those recordings.

Mythos was recorded and mixed at Spark Studios (Oakland, CA)
in 1984, and released by the Audion Recording Company in 1986. The foundation tracks for the 20-minute-long title piece were entirely improvised by Michael Masley (bowhammer cymbalom) and myself (electric guitar with a tape-loop system). These tracks were then slowed down-lowering the pitch-and a second pass recorded. Because the guitar was sometimes played with an Erhu bow, an Ebow, and two Masley bowhammers, it is often difficult to discern who
is playing what. Woodwind and light percussion overdubs by Kat Epple and Bob Stohl-and yet more guitar parts-completed the piece. "Aeon" is an entirely improvised keyboard piece with xylophone added, and "Abrasax" was sparked from experiments with a makeshift guitar gamelon.

Voluntary Dreaming was recorded and mixed at Spark in 1989, and released on Scarlet Records the following year. Originally intended for release on Audion (an early mix of the title piece appeared on The Best of Both Worlds, the Second Audion Sampler), the recording reflected that label''s emphasis on synthesizers and samplers, and was more electronic-sounding than Mythos. It also featured Michael Pluznick''s layered ethnic percussion on several pieces, foreshadowing the music on my third album, Volcano. Both Mythos and Voluntary Dreaming were self-produced, with Tony Mills engineering, and mastered by George Horn at Fantasy studios (Berkeley, CA).

The title Memory & Imagination was originally going to be used for an album of compositions based on guitar and percussion loops that was recorded in 1992. Using an early prototype of a Danish digital looping device called the Paradis Loop Delay (later marketed as the Oberheim/Gibson Echoplex Digital Pro), I recorded multi-layered loops that were later transferred to a 16-track analog recorder and used as rhythmic or harmonic foundations. The loops and most of the overdubs were entirely improvised-hence the concept of (digital) memory and improvisational imagination. Six pieces were completed but never released. I rediscovered those six pieces in 2002 while archiving 16-track analog tapes to digital, and decided to remix them using current technology. The multi-track masters tapes of "Lucid Mirrors of Eroticism" and "Memory & Imagination" were compromised and could not be remixed, but fortunately the 1992 stereo mixes sounded good. The other four pieces-"Still Smiling," "Signless," "Snakey Jake," and "Bottoms Up"-were given complete aural makeovers.

The lengthy (24:24) "Memory & Imagination" is based on long, continuously evolving delay lines rather than static loops. It was recorded during a storm, and heavy rainfall can be heard in the background. Other than the Dobro melody at the end, the sounds were all produced with electric guitar and light percussion instruments.

"Echoes on Echoes" is a live improvisation created using a Gibson Echoplex Digital Pro, recorded at Spark on 2/10/03 for the Echoes radio program.

"Stones of Precious Water" and "Indigo Runes" were recorded and mixed in 1981. Both were created by first drastically manipulating and processing taped guitar tracks, and then playing over them. Bob Stohl played Lyricon on "Indigo."

-Barry Cleveland July 2003

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