Redhooker: The Future According to Yesterday
Soft Landing

The music on The Future According to Yesterday was inspired by a year Stephen Griesgraber spent living in an isolated former port village called Red Hook (hence the group name), but was composed in a vacant accident-injury law office in downtown Manhattan. Both the locales and the CD title itself indicate opposition, a theme the recording's four pieces reinforce too by rooting themselves in classical tradition but pushing beyond it in subtle manner. Though led by guitarist and composer Griesgraber, Redhooker isn't a solo project but a quartet that also includes clarinetist Peter Hess, violinist Maxim Moston, and Rhodes keyboardist Rob Collins (the latter two of whom are, like Griesgraber, members of Christopher Tignor's SlowSix ensemble).

The ponderous chamber setting “Sometimes She Speaks Gently” opens the EP with a graceful contrapuntal dialogue between Hess, Moston, and Collins, while the animated waltz “Animus” brightens the mood with its lilting character. In “Twelve Times Goodbye,” the sweetly singing violin, woodsy clarinet, and bright Rhodes tones blend into a rich polyphony. Griesgraber uses Max/MSP software in his work but, with one exception (the computer-generated drone that bookends “Sunday Silence”), the four pieces sound largely free of electronic embellishment. In terms of instrumentation, Griesgraber's Redhooker material is clothed in classical gear though sidesteps easy stylistic pigeonholing. It's generally reminiscent of classical music in tone and spirit, but extends beyond the genre in its openness and accessibility—more Bryars than Berio, in other words. In fact, Griesgraber's stately tonalities sometimes recall Bryars' serpentine flow, especially during the meditative central section of “Sunday Silence.”

September 2007