Thursday 1 November 2012

Dennis Rea - The Discography

...and now, following from The Interview, here's The Discography, in his own words, in chronological order, earliest first. Take it away, Dennis!

Earthstar: Salterbarty Tales (Moontower Records 1978)
My first appearance on record, as a guest contributor to my hometown friend Craig Wuest's electroacoustic project Earthstar. Craig soon relocated to Germany, where I later joined him for additional sessions. Earthstar had the distinction of being the only American group to participate in the German kosmische musik scene while it was still at its height.

Earthstar: French Skyline (Sky Records 1979)
The second Earthstar LP, recorded in Germany with electronic music legend Klaus Schulze producing and a cast of international musicians. I appear on a remix of a track that first appeared on Salterbarty Tales. (Titbit: This session was recorded on a recycled Popol Vuh master tape.)

Earthstar: Atomkraft? Nein, Danke! (Sky Records 1981)
The third Earthstar LP, also recorded in Germany and a bit of a departure from the long-form pieces that characterized the previous LPs. I appear on two tracks.

Savant: The Neo-Realist (At Risk) (Palace Of Lights 1983)
The only full-length LP from K. Leimer's early '80s Seattle-based collective Savant, which combined physical instruments with tape manipulation in the pre-sampling era. I was a key contributor to three pieces, one of which ("Shadow in Deceit") is constructed almost entirely of percussive multitracked guitar and bass parts.

Earthstar, various: Schwingungen Vol. II (Sky Records 1985)
A Sky Records sampler that includes a track by Earthstar, this collection is notable for also featuring tracks by Cluster & Eno, Hans-Joachim Roedelius, Dieter Moebius, and others. Erroneously subtitled "New Age Music" to cash in on the '80s craze.

Color Anxiety, various: Secretions (C/Z Records 1988)
A sampler LP documenting the state of the pre-Grunge mid-'80s Seattle rock scene, including such notables as Amy Denio, Tad, and Soundgarden/Pearl Jam's Matt Cameron. I appear on a track by the dual-guitar avant-funk outfit Color Anxiety, a sort of mutant hybrid of '80s Crimson and Fishbone.

The Shredders: Shredder Orpheus soundtrack (1990)
Throughout the soundtrack to this campy feature film I was the sonic alter ego of the lead character Orpheus, a guitarist who acquires a stringed instrument called the Lyrax that imparts supernatural powers. Music composed by Roland Barker and performed by myself, Amy Denio, and Bill Rieflin (Ministry, REM, Robert Fripp). Probably the 'heaviest' guitar playing I've committed to tape. Plans are afoot to issue the soundtrack on CD soon.

Dennis Rea: Shadow in Dreams (China Record Company 1990)
One of the first recordings of adventurous music released by a foreign musician in communist China, to my everalsting astonishment Shadow in Dreams sold an estimated 40,000 copies and was listed among the year's 10 best recordings by China Youth Daily. The record was made under less than ideal conditions, so I prefer to keep it under wraps ;) A second album was recorded for CRC by my Taiwan-based fusion group Identity Crisis, but its release was held up by authorities in Beijing who were steamed over the producer's failure to obtain permission to record a suspect foreign act.

LAND: LAND (Extreme 1995), Archipelago (Periplum 1997), and Road Movies (First World Music 2001)
Celebrated electronic musician Jeff Greinke's collaborative project LAND proferred an unusual blend of jazz, rock, and electronic music marked by ethnic overtones and expansive improvisation. I was a charter member (along with trumpet player Lesli Dalaba) and remained with the group through several lineup changes. The final version of the band, with bassist Fred Chalenor (Tone Dogs, Hughscore, Curlew) and drummer Bill Rieflin, tilted more toward avant-rock. LAND toured China, Hong Kong, and Macau in 1996.

Jeff Greinke: Big Weather (Linden Music 1994) and Swimming (Prudence Cosmopolitan Music 1998)
I contributed guitar to a track or two on each of these solo releases by my longtime collaborator and bandmate in LAND. Pre-electronica-era ambient music.

Eric Apoe: Songs of Love and Doom, Dream Asylum, Radioation, Book of Puzzles, and The Man in the Sun (All Soundtrack Boulevard Music 1996, 2000, 2002, 2005, 2008) For ten years I played guitar in the bands of Eric Apoe, one of the Pacific Northwest's finest singer-songwriters, whose vast repertoire spans rock, jazz, blues, Americana, and Old World influences. Eric is as original and prolific as Tom Waits and richly deserves commensurate recognition. Playing such a varied songbook was an invaluable learning experience for me as a guitarist.

Craig Flory & Doug Haire: Wigwam Bendix (Franchise Records 1998)
Saxophonist extraordinaire Flory and sound engineer supreme Doug Haire's wacky improvised music project involving a who's who of the 1990s Seattle creative music scene, many of whom went on to earn international acclaim (e.g., Michael Bisio, Eyvind Kang, Skerik, Timothy Young). I performed on a rather cacophonous track together with Flory, three guitarists, a cellist, and two drummers.

Rik Wright: Bleeding Laughter (HipSync Records 2000)
Jazz Guitarist Rik Wright's improvised meetings with myself (one track), guitarist Ed Petry, saxophonist Wally Shoup, and drummers Toshi Makihara and Jeph Jerman. Rik and I currently co-present Zero-G Concerts, a creative music series that takes place regularly in various Seattle venues.

Infrasound Collective (various): Owasso Night Atlas (Infrasound 2000)
I appear on two tracks of this wide-ranging compilation: a studio improvisation with the Edge Trio (with saxophonists Paul Chuey and Michael Monhart) and an excerpt from a large-group improvisation hosted by The Tentacle journal of Pacific Northwest creative music (of which I was co-publisher at the time) in an abandoned Seattle steel mill, involving instruments and (sometimes huge) found objects.

Stackpole: Stackpole (First World Music 2001)
Described by one listener as "Seattle's Last Exit," Stackpole was a free-jazz juggernaut featuring veteran Seattle improvisers Wally Shoup (alto saxophone), Geoff Harper (bassist), and drum legend Gregg Keplinger. It was also the first record for which I assumed production duties.

Hector Zazou: Strong Currents (Materiali Sonori (Italy) & Taktic Music (France) - both 2003)
Acclaimed French composer Zazou’s Strong Currents is a collection of songs composed for a top-flight cast of female singers including Laurie Anderson, Jane Birkin, and Melanie Gabriel (daughter of Peter). My guitar serves as the backbone for the track “In the Middle of the Night,” sung by Lori Carson (Golden Palominos). Other musicians on the album include Ryuichi Sakamoto, Stefano Bollani, and Bill Rieflin. Definitely the highest-profile release I've ever appeared on. Released in both Italian and French editions, with different covers.

Wang Yong / Han Bennink / Andreas Schreiber / Dennis Rea / Steffen Schorn / Claudio Puntin / Lesli Dalaba: Free Touching: Live in Beijing at Keep in Touch (Noise Asia 2004)
A two-CD set documenting two evenings of free improvisations by an international cast of musicians who were in town to play the Beijing International Jazz Festival, hosted by guzheng (Chinese horizontal zither) virtuoso Wang Yong. I was especially thrilled to play with the legendary drummer Han Bennink.

Chekov: Born to be Quiet (Self released 2008)
I play an ebow-plus-ring-modulator solo on one track ("For Absent Friends") of this release by my longtime collaborator Andreas Vath's (AKA Atze Ton) groove-based electro-jazz group, recorded in Munich in 2007.

Ting Bu Dong: Ting Bu Dong
(Self released 2008)
A CD EP featuring five of my compositions in a classic jazz-rock fusion mode, from sessions recorded in Munich in 2007 with bassist/engineer Andreas Vath, keyboardist Volker Wiedersheim, and drummer Olli Klomp. Chinese for "I hear, but I don't undrestand," Ting Bu Dong toured major Taiwanese cities in 2008.

Moraine: manifest deNsity (MoonJune 2009)
The first Moraine release, recorded on a tiny budget and featuring the 'string quartet plus drums' version of the band with Ruth Davidson on cello and our original drummer Jay Jaskot.

Iron Kim Style: Iron Kim Style (MoonJune 2010)
Paeans of praise for the Dear Leader in an exploded jazz-rock modality, improvised live in the studio at the instigation of bassist Ryan Berg.

Dennis Rea: Views from Chicheng Precipice (MoonJune 2010)
In formulating these arrangements of some of my favorite Chinese, Taiwanese, and East Asian ethnic minority pieces, I sometimes chose to honor traditional formal constraints, e.g., limiting improvisers to a particular set of scale tones, or eschewing the use of Western-style functional harmony. In other cases I threw custom to the winds—harmonizing passages, employing atypical instrumentation, and incorporating noise, chromaticism, free improvisation, and amplification—while striving to remain faithful to the spirit of my models.

Moraine: Metamorphic Rock: Live at NEARfest (MoonJune 2011)
Moraine Mark II (with woodwind player James DeJoie and drummer Stephen Cavit) in full flight at the world's preeminent progressive rock festival, performing new compositions plus reworked versions of tunes from manifest deNsity and Views from Chicheng Precipice. Remixed and coproduced by legendary Pacific Northwest producer Steve Fisk.

Dennis Rea, Wally Shoup & Tom Zgonc: Subduction Zone (Nunatak 2012)
A set of uninhibited improvisations from Seattle improvisers Rea, Shoup (alto saxophone), and Zgonc (drums), ranging from hyperkinetic fusion to noir jazz to eldritch experimentalia. Some of my wildest guitar on record.

Tempered Steel: Tempered Steel
(Nunatak 2012)
A set of amplified, electronically processed thumb piano improvisations with collaborators Ffej and Frank Junk. Recommended for partisans of Harry Partch, John Cage's prepared piano music, and Konono No. 1.

As well as the currently available MoonJune & Nunatak releases, Dennis tells me that all three LAND CDs are still available through Amazon, as are these:
  • Savant: The Neo-Realist (At Risk)
  • Hector Zazou: Strong Currents
  • Stackpole
  • All of the Eric Apoe titles
  • Owasso Night Atlas
  • Rik Wright: Bleeding Laughter
  • Jeff Greinke: Big Weather and Swimming
 ...and this is also available:
...and there you have it. There is some highly interesting music in there, and I will have fun investigating further, as indeed, should you!

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