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Robin B. James
February 02/20/21, 2021
Composer and soundscape artist Jeff Greinke presents an elegant musical landscape of delicate compositions and harmonically rich ambience, an album titled Other Weather. The eleven slowly-unfolding tracks offer multi-layered textures that weave acoustic and electronic instrumentation into a gossamer soundscape that shimmers with the stillness of a perfectly calm atmosphere in the warm light of early dusk. Other Weather, on the Spotted Peccary Music label. The title Other Weather refers to Greinke's very personal and experiential relationship with the weather, especially the beautiful and sometimes indescribable meteorological phenomena that aren’t often noticed or talked about.

Greinke explains, "My interest in the weather has always been predominantly experiential, and as I get older I find myself attracted to its subtler and quieter aspects. I see a connection between this interest and the kind of music I like to make. This feels especially true with this album."

Jeff Greinke has been a composer since 1980, and he has dedicated nearly 40 years to making and recording music. He has performed throughout North America, as well as Europe and China, and his music has been heard in theatre, radio, art installations, and major motion picture trailers. Other Weather is Greinke's 20th solo album, and his fourth on the Spotted Peccary Music label.

Greinke describes his very specific and timely inspiration for Other Weather, “I live in the Sonoran Desert, just outside Tucson. In late April and early October there is a brief window – maybe a week or two – when a variety of conditions come together to create an almost magical environment. It’s a feeling in the air produced by a combination of the temperature being just right – 84 or 85 degrees, the air being perfectly calm, warm early dusk light and low relative humidity. It lasts maybe 10 minutes. It’s an experience that is beyond words for me. It’s utterly exquisite.”

In the near future, fans can catch Greinke performing for this year's live streamed Soundquest Fest on March 28th, beginning at 10AM PDT / 1PM EDT on YouTube. SoundQuest Fest, launched in 2010 as a live festival in Tucson, Arizona, was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. From March 26-28th, a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will entrance electronic, ambient and visual art fans. For more about SoundQuest Fest, visit https://soundquestfest.live/

As with 2018's Before Sunrise, Other Weather spans the genres of modern classical, electronic, and ambient as it gently evolves through a refined set of impressionistic ambient chamber music. Blending electronic ambiences and effects with an acoustic ensemble that includes cello, viola, violin, French horn, clarinets, flutes, and small percussion, Greinke realizes his musical vision through an empirical process of improvisation and experimentation, combining tracks and layering sounds, and uncovering the magical moments as they reveal themselves.

High-level stratocumuli form clouds open out before me, an enchanted world of the genus cirrocumulus forms, where snow begins when moist air at high tropospheric altitude reaches saturation, creating eloquent ice crystals or supercooled water droplets. Other Weather presents with eleven pieces, chiefly excited by movements taking place high up in the air. The overall mood of Other Weather is subtle, the sound is primed for interpretation, like clouds, with a huge vista appearing solid while being gentle. The sound possesses a quite extraordinary range of different timbres and vibrates along with the air inside it. The sensation is of the instruments having a conversation or perhaps painting a picture, always truly beautiful, and often formed by woven piano with strings and various wind instrument combinations, a complex satin fabric of sound.

Full, lustrous, and metallic, a clear, clean, and brilliant sound, “Rain Through the Night” (04:00), is an introspective piano and percussion exposition, building out of the heart of darkness and joined by subtle sensuous deep strings with a mellow, dark and rich tone. My favorite track of this album is “Falling Sky” (05:19), coming in with very distant cold shimmering glimmers of tones, subtle glimpses of approaching astral matter traversing from so far away. A dreamy piano emerges from electronic clouds that hang there.

Cumulus clouds are rounded masses heaped upon each other above a flat base that hangs in the sky. These are the big puffy clouds you see most of the time, but they can appear to be quite huge and rise to fantastic distances. Cumulo is a Latin word that means heap or pile. “Rising Cumulus” (04:27) features a piano joined by bowed strings, building to great heights, massive acoustic forms accentuated by emerging electronics and shapes that continue on and on, building and ascending, a thread woven through, blending and balancing, a beautiful, mellow, sweet tone. Depending on the atmospheric conditions, cumulus clouds can eventually turn into other types of clouds, including storm clouds, also known as thunderheads or cumulonimbus clouds.

Greinke sometimes intrepidly includes the squeaks and bowing sounds that real instruments make, and that adds a lot of emotional depth to the pictures that he paints with his compositions, thus the sound characteristics of the violin are not predetermined by the score, but their presence is accommodated to bring about a deeper realization of the intended compositional design.

From silence there is a lustrous distant sound, we are drawn in closer and pause to hear some fine details, then we float on beyond the source, and our perception of the sound fades, the music possibly forever continuing in our absence. Piano and classical guitar glide together using subtle phasing techniques to layer up lots of depth and gradual motion across the sky, to create a tone poem that defies categorization, “Clouds Like Flying Saucers” (04:19). Now join a search for new resonance and a new type of voice for the keyboard dream machine, “Outflow” (04:38), with electronica arranged in changing layers, bits of piano sustaining this solemn transfer, with sparkles and hints of complex forms hidden inside.

Shelf ice occurs when floating pieces of ice are driven by the wind, piling up on the lee shore. The track’s title, “Icebreaker” (07:26), made me think there is going to be a crushing sound and shattering sheets of ice, but to me the music is actually about delicate arctic poetry, cold shivering strings take form, joined by woodwinds and haunting brass, featuring Heather Bentley on cello, viola, and violin; Greg Campbell on French horn and small percussion; James DeJoie on clarinets and flutes, with the sound perhaps portraying the electromechanical properties of ice and its nano rheology (the flow of sub-microscopic crystalline water matter). In the final analysis, what I am left with is a dream about traversing the vast northernmost waters.

Composers sometimes seek new timbres, art music once modeled on Baroque and early classical forms can now emerge free from traditions. Central to the story are the tensions and the intimacy developed between the musicians, the composer, and of course, the listener, but this distinction is far from rigid. Acting now as a strange composite being that is never alien to the concert hall, yet free to dwell anywhere and be conjured at any time by the touch of a button, the moments of true intimacy occur whenever the spirit moves one to give oneself up to it. Enter a zone of magic, a close understanding of shared musical experience that is performed by a small number of performers.

Other Weather was composed, arranged, and produced by Jeff Greinke, recorded at Another Room, Tucson, and Invisible Studio, Seattle; the Seattle session was engineered by Rob Angus, the album was mastered by Howard Givens, and is available for physical purchase in CD format and in 24-BIT AUDIOPHILE, CD QUALITY LOSSLESS, MP3 and streaming formats. The physical CD version of Other Weather arrives in a factory sealed 6-panel gatefold package that includes vibrant artwork, liner notes, a 4-page booklet, and exquisite package design by Daniel Pipitone.

Tracklist:
01 A Stretch of Sun 4:35
02 Rain Through the Night 4:01
03 Falling Sky 5:19
04 Rising Cumulus 4:28
05 Snow Across a Windswept Plain 9:06
06 Clouds Like Flying Saucers 4:20
07 Outflow 4:38
08 Storm Chaser 5:42
09 After the Rain 3:50
10 Icebreaker 7:26
11 Across the Sky 5:42

About Jeff Greinke:
Jeff Greinke is a musician, composer, performer, and sound sculptor who is known worldwide for his unique sound. Through a highly developed process of layering, Jeff composes and performs music rich in texture, depth, mood, and subtle detail. Using various acoustic and electronic instruments, found sounds, and extended studio techniques, Jeff sculpts sound worlds that conjure a strong sense of place, hovering somewhere between the exotic and the familiar. With numerous releases to his credit, Greinke has been an active artist for more than three decades and has composed music for film, video, dance, theater, radio, and art installations. OTHER WEATHER, is Jeff’s fourth release on the Spotted Peccary label. His previous SPM releases include BEFORE SUNRISE (SPM-3701), VIRGA (LSM16), and WINTER LIGHT (LSM09). Jeff’s music can also be heard on numerous compilation recordings. http://www.jeffgreinke.com/

About Spotted Peccary Music:
Portland-based Spotted Peccary Music is North America’s finest independent record label with a focus on deep, vast and introspective soundscapes. For over three decades, the artists of Spotted Peccary have been on a mission to develop, produce, publish and release ultra-high-quality, deep-listening experiences that engage the listener and exceed expectations. Every release is carefully prepared in a variety of high quality formats from MP3 to high-res studio masters. Explore more than 170 titles and 46 artists at www.SpottedPeccary.com and www.AmbientElectronic.com.

Links:
Spotted Peccary Album page: https://spottedpeccary.com/shop/other-weather/
Spotted Peccary Artist page: https://spottedpeccary.com/artists/jeff-greinke/
CD unboxing: https://youtu.be/tMows5jcaCw
Bandcamp: https://ambientelectronic.bandcamp.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/spottedpeccary/
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/user/spottedpeccary
SoundQuest Fest 2021: https://soundquestfest.live/

 

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