Philip Grass - Find
Imagine how it felt to witness jazz music come to prominence in the early 1900’s as you’re experiencing an entirely new musical style become recognized. You watch as it envelopes the interest of young listeners, expands the creativity of experienced musicians and breaks down social confines in art; perhaps even upsetting those who refuse to accept cultural change and progression. I feel that in the last few decades we’ve felt a ripple of that foundational change in music, with the introduction of the sampler.
Historically there has been a strong sonic and cultural distinction between completely natural or digital sounds. A synthesizer or sampler is seen with different respect than a saxophone or piano, both in recorded and live environments. Generally their sounds are different, and in extreme cases so are their listeners and users. Subsequently it has been my desire to see this distinction become blurry and for the worlds of acoustic and digital sound to merge into indistinguishable soundscape, for the sake of progression and the appreciation of art no matter it’s process or origin. This has been achieved by few thus far, and I feel its still rare to find material that well-represents a balance of sampled, acoustic and digital material. With that being said, the track “Find” from Portland duo Philip Grass is one of the finest examples of that union I’ve heard in recent years.
The sense of space and musicality is so natural throughout the album, it’s as if the sampled passages we’re being performed as a voice, free from the confines of a metronome or digital environment. From the hazy vocals of title track Find, to the latin-influenced kick drum patterns of All I Need, to any of the numerous hand-selected piano passages, the EP almost performs as a living, breathing entity. Every track builds upon it’s own phrasing and introduces stylistic change so well, it’s as if it’s parts belong solely to one another. This I feel is the progression of sampled music, the beauty in living in present moment, in relinquishing the ability to discern the origin of sound. Listen to Find from start to finish, and let it envelop you in the uniqueness and future of music.
You can purchase the album from the Dropping Gems bandcamp page.