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CD Feature/ Graham Bowers: "Pilgrim"

img  Tobias

When I popped this CD into my brand new CD drive, I saw my itunes player coming up with the music and the Genre classification: Jazz. After listening, I can only say: No! Although there are, once in a while, jazz elements, there  is no way at all to put Graham’s music into any specific category. And so I will not waste any time trying to do so.

“Pilgrim” is just a remarkable piece of music. Powerful and brutal at times, slow and sensitive at others, there is no way of putting it into a safe haven of any category, where everybody could relax and say: Yeah, I know, it is jazz, experimental music, electronics, drones or anything else the avant-garde world has to offer. It’s really not that simple. Here, a much greater experiment is taking place. This amazing music is published by Red Wharf under the brand of ‘Music – Painting – Sculpture’. And indeed, this music is crossing borders in a way I can not recall having encounterd before. Looking at the booklet inside the CD you’ll see sculptures. Listening to the CD, you will ‘Hear’ sculptures.

Graham Bowers already is known for musical and artistic productions which go beyond the so called ‘That has been done before’. No, this has NOT been done before. Although the percussion part seemingly is pretty much what we have once heard, the whole structure is almost orchestral. No, do not think of classical examples. There is a big difference, brought up by the seemingly unstructured environment where all of this ‘pilgrimage’, or better the prelude to the ‘pilgrimage’, takes place. Once in a while, one might get distracted. But then again, a central theme can be detected.

You see, I contradict myself many a times in trying to get to the bottom of this work. I have to admit, it is very hard to describe it in any way, shape or form. What is going on with this  piece of music? I will give it another try to make you understand, and this time I will try to use the literary way:
Imagine, you’d walk into a large hall. It measures 300 feet in width, length and height. Everything is empty and dark. There is, however, one tiny spot of light, very far in the back from where you are standing. Then, in the background, you hear the steady beat of percussions, interrupted by some strange sounds. Very low sounds, swelling up once in a while, then again fading away. And while the music picks up, in the middle of the open air, a glistening light appears, just up there, 30 feet from where you are, somehow interwoven with a sudden fog, that fills the hall. And there, you recognize a sculpture. Two human bodies, it seems, constructed out of smoke, intertwined, you are not sure how, you keep guessing, and that strange music is coming in again, faint, loud, slow, powerful, very structured, and when the smoke sculptures dissolve in plain view, so does the music. Only to pick it up again, a few seconds of your and my life later, and again accompanied by another smoke sculpture in the air, where I stand in awe and just watch and listen….

This is the theme of ‘Pilgrims… A Prelude of a Pilgrim in Progress’. At least, this is it for me. I could say a lot about the masterful play of instruments and so on and on… I would probably be right in praising its virtues. But for me, even if I’d be alone with my opinion about this music, all alone on the face of the earth, I’d still have to say that it is very humane, very much about human life and life in general. This music is life, the life of a believer, and the life and hopes of many believers. Believe in what? I don’t know, and I leave that question open for each of you for your own sake. With this composition and release, Graham Bowers has created an extraordinary piece of art, that should be called an artistic revolution. At least, that’s what I am calling it.

By Fred M. Wheeler

Homepage: Graham Bowers/Red Wharf Records
Homepage: Graham Bowers at MySpace

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