E. Doctor Smith (Quantum CD Release Show)
Flotation Device, Ian Robertson
500 4th Street
San Francisco, CA, 94107
This event is 21 and over
E. Doctor Smith (Quantum CD Release Show)
Quantum (Edgetone EDT4136) is the latest work by drummer and electronic percussionist E. Doctor Smith (Brian Eno, Madonna, Edo Castro) and his sixth album on the Edgetone Records label. Quantum reunites Smith with his former Drummstick band mate, guitarist Jack Wright (Quantum Kids, Temporal Chaos Project) and features Quantum Kids' bassist, Tom Shiben, and Smith's Feat of Clay co-founder, trumpeter Eric Dahlman. In this collaboration, Smith’s unique fusion approach to the new Zendrum EXP MIDI percussion controller (the first commercially sold EXP, designed by David Haney of the Zendrum Corporation), splash blends with Wright's inspired guitar work and looping mastery to create music swirling between the subtle, the beautiful, the incendiary.
Inspired by Wright's progressive rock compositions and musicianship, Smith’s Washington, D.C.- based Drummstick band performed Wright’s anthemic Reflections and syncopated Progress, bringing the guitarist’s work to the area’s larger venues for the first time. During a performance at a club in Northern Virginia in the fall of 2000, Smith was playing the Drummstick, (his original MIDI percussion controller), alongside Wright when the guitarist’s creative use of loops, especially in his beautifully crafted song PsychoBilly, prompted the legendary guitarist Bill Kirchen, who happened to be in attendance, to ask Smith, "What is that thing you are playing, Doc, who is that guitarist, and why have I never heard of him before?" Since then, Wright’s many memorable live performances and online presence have provided increasing recognition of his work and access to it for loyal fans.
Smith recorded two albums with Wright: The Drummstick in 2000 (Edgetone EDT4046) and The Drummstick 2 in 2007 (Edgetone EDT4053) after relocating to San Francisco with bassist Celia DuBose. Smith and Wright performing several times in San Francisco and agreed to work together again when the time was right.
Happily, in 2008 Smith reunited with Wright and fellow band mate, MIDI saxophonist and flautist Neil Mezebish at the Barn, Mezebish's recording studio in Taylorsville, Maryland and Smith recorded several of Wright's best-known compositions from the Quantum Kids repertoire, including Angular Momentum, Progress, PsychoBilly, and Son of Frunkenstein." Those sessions were the foundation for this album, which was completed with several pieces from Smith’s Feat of Clay repertoire, including Kodo and Blue Moon, recorded with trumpeter Eric Dahlman and Mike Hall on guitar synthesizer.
The result is Quantum, a mix of progressive rock and jazz with ambient and otherworldly sounds, a potent musical cocktail — definitely shaken, not stirred!
Multi-instrumentalist and composer John Moremen has performed with Half Japanese, Roy Loney and the Phantom Movers, the Orange Peels and the Neighbors — and his own recording career has seen releases on the Bus Stop Label and Popstatic records — but in a way, this is Moremen's debut album.
As a solo artist, John Moremen's work has traditionally fallen into the power-pop category, but "Flotation Device" (2011, Mystery Lawn Music) finds the man coloring way outside the lines. Eschewing the distraction of lyrics and vocals on this collection of tunes, the arrangements become more evocative and mysterious -- allowing Moremen to paint pointillistic impressions of moments in time and imaginary landscapes.
John recorded the songs at his San Francisco rehearsal studio (the Rat Hole) and at his own Inner Sunset Studio then sent the tracks to Mystery Lawn for mixing and mastering.
On "Flotation Device," Moremen is like a jazz great playing in a fictional rock band made up entirely of himself. Performing all the instrumental parts on this album, Moremen freely navigates between drums, bass and guitar while never losing site of the end goal: songs that move, shake and rattle with palpable energy. Call it 21st century mood music; call it a West-Coast guitar freakout; call it what you will — John Moremen is entirely at home in the grooves of this album, and whether you're from the left coast or right, it places you square in the mindset of this gifted San Francisco composer.
Solo electric guitarist Ian Robertson creates simple themes and add layers in both predetermined and improvised ways. "I’m deeply in love with guitars and electronics their possibility to provide transcendence. Much of what I do has gauzy, soft focus feel but darker and noisier elements do creep in. I’ve been playing in rock bands for years but the kind of music I’m playing at the Foundry has been something I’ve only done for myself in private. I’m extremely happy to come out of my shell and share this music with people. I’m also a guitar player in an John Moremen’s instrumental rock band called Floatation Device.
I’m inspired by the natural world, and the strange moments you can get when walking alone and looking at water and hearing the wind blow. I borrow musically from lots of different places; the great electric guitarists and non-guitarists from rock, jazz, experimental music, African music, as well as people like Brian Eno, John Fahey, and John Cage..."
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