Thursday, November 7, 2013

Barry Cleveland

Barry Cleveland's music spans a panoply of styles—from ambient and experimental to world fusion to psychedelic and progressive rock. His guitar playing is enhanced by cutting-edge electronics and unorthodox playing techniques, and he has been involved with looping technology since the early 1980s. Cleveland is also a recording engineer and producer.

Originally released on Larry Fast's Audion Recording Company, Mythos combines layers of guitar with Michael Masley's otherworldly bowhammer cymbalom, and Bob Stohl and Kat Epple's woodwinds, synths, and light percussion.

Chosen as one of The 25 Best New Age Compact Discs
(Alongside such other “new age” albums as Dark Side of the Moon, Autobahn, Dig It, and Thursday Afternoon.)
—Stereo Review 1987 Compact Disc Buyer’s Guide

“The five hypnotic songs on MYTHOS engender a dreamy tranquility, yet remain interesting enough to hold your attention. Obscure ethnic instruments ground the guitar/synthesizer songs with an ancient earthiness.”
Performance: 8
Sound: 10
—CD Review

“Features free-floating contexts that are strong without being overbearing and beautiful without being cloying. The drones, spiraling arabesques, and eerie, electronic colorings in MYTHOS leave plenty of room for listeners to transcend themselves.” —Jazziz

“Unlike many electronic/space music recordings, the focal instruments here are guitars, not synthesizers. Cleveland gets a remarkable variety of sounds out of them, too. He avoids the extremes of ambient innocuousness as well as anarchic harshness, and leaves one looking forward to his next work.” —Option

“Cleveland himself does everything but play the guitar straight; he uses Ebow, violin bows, Thumbo, and the cymbalom’s Bowhammer to elicit long droning chords from his instrument. Side two is a 19-minute Frippertronics loop, with flutes, bells, and cymbalom floating in and out. Very empyrean. —Electronic Musician

released 02 October 2012
Barry Cleveland: acoustic and electric guitars, synthesizers, bowed dulcimer, tape loops
Michael Masley: bowhammer cymbalom, xylophone
Bob Stohl: flute, synthesizers, Lyricon, bass recorder, bells, gong
Kat Epple flute, bass flute, synthesizers, bells
Produced by Barry Cleveland/engineered by Tony Mills
Recorded at Spark Studio, Oakland, CA
Digitally remastered by Barry Cleveland at ElevenEleven Recorders, Redwood City, CA (2012) 
For this outing, San Francisco Bay Area guitarist Barry Cleveland has enlisted a troop of comrades in his effort to bridge the gulf between western musical idioms and those beyond these shores. Though all are characterized by rhythmic grooves derived from non-Western sources, be it African, Latin, or Middle Eastern, each of these 10 tracks takes on a unique flavor of its own. This begins with the arsenal and artistry of percussionist Michael Pluznick who (along with an occasional army of percussionists) joins Cleveland on the basic tracks, joined by bass god Michael Manring whose work throughout is nothing less than astounding. Witness his amazing playing on the title track or the lightning fast lines on "Rhumbatism."

Cleveland's guitar provides many of the leads and textures, ranging from frisky African lines ("Makanda") to buzzing Frippian leads ("Ophidian Waves") to waves of soundscapes ("Obsidian Night"), though he never takes the spotlight exclusively for himself. Joining him on many pieces is flute and reeds wizard Norbert Stachel who delivers performances that are very jazz-informed while remaining fresh and primal. Lygia Ferra lends deeply sensual vocals to two songs, best captured in the sweaty intensity of "Dervish Circles," where she is joined by Maxwell Taylor for a performance that I'll bet left everyone reaching for a cigarette once it was over.

Though his contributions are often overshadowed by his guests (Manring especially), this is nonetheless a remarkable collection, and further establishes Barry Cleveland as one of the most creative guitarists of our time.
—Paul Hightower 

Hologramatron is a 21st Century protest record with songs featuring biting, sometimes brutal, commentary on the state of the Western world. It’s a musical response to contemporary social, political, and even spiritual realities. The disc draws inspiration from a musical continuum spanning art rock, psychedelia, metal, ambient, world music, trance, and funk.

The cast of players joining Cleveland comprises some of the most respected musicians of the avant-rock scene, including bass innovator Michael Manring; drummer and percussionist Celso Alberti (Steve Winwood); pedal-steel iconoclast Robert Powell (Peter Gabriel, Jackson Browne), vocalists Amy X Neuburg, Deborah Holland (Stanley Clarke, Stewart Copeland), and Harry Manx. Other renowned contributors include Turkish electro-acoustic guitarist Erdem Helvacioglu, percussionists Gino Robair and Rick Walker, and cymbalom master Michael Masley, a.k.a. the infamous “Artist General.”

In addition to the eight original compositions on Hologramatron there are two covers—Malvina Reynolds’ anti-nuclear proliferation anthem “What Have They Done to the Rain” and Joe Meek’s iconic “Telstar.” Bonus tracks include remixes by Evan Schiller (“Lake of Fire”) and Forrest Fang (“Abandoned Mines”), as well as an alternate mix of “You’ll Just Have to See It to Believe.” Grammy Award-winning engineer John Cuniberti mastered the album.

Cleveland is all about sound—from his guitar playing to his compositions to his production—and it’s the deeply layered, highly nuanced, cutting-edge sonics that unify his wildly diverse material. Cleveland’s earlier work was more ambient and impressionistic (Mythos, released on Larry Fast’s Audion label, received rave reviews in Option, Jazziz, and Stereo Review) and his last recording explored instrumental world fusion (Volcano garnered accolades in All About Jazz, Abstract Logix, Innerviews, and Progression)—but Hologramatron pushes multiple musical envelopes simultaneously.

In addition to playing acoustic and electric 6- and 12-string guitars on Hologramatron, Cleveland utilized a prototype of the revolutionary Moog Guitar and both acoustic and electric GuitarViols—hybrid bowed instruments tuned like a guitar—along with myriad effects processors and alternative playing devices such as a Chinese erhu bow, Masley Bowhammers, and the Ebow.

Barry Cleveland is also the author of Creative Music Production: Joe Meek's Bold Techniques.
released 27 May 2010
Barry Cleveland electric & acoustic guitar, electric & acoustic 12-string guitar, Moog Guitar, GuitarViol, sampled percussion, sampled Mellotron, voice (8), bass (8); Robert Powell pedal-steel guitar (1-5, 7, 9, 11-13), lap-steel guitar (4); Michael Manring bass (1-9, 11-13); Celso Alberti drums, percussion (1-4, 6-9, 11-13); Amy X Neuburg vocals (1, 2, 6, 9, 10, 13).

Harry Manx vocals (4); Deborah Holland vocals (4); Artist General voice/words (5); Erdem Helvacioglu acoustic-electric guitar, electronics (3, 13); Rick Walker chain-link drums, teapot (5), congas (4), dumbec (7); Gino Robair dumbec, kendang (6); And Forrest Fang mixing, processing, violin (11); Evan Schiller mixing, processing (13). 


1969 Gibson Les Paul Custom with 1959 PAFs
2003 Paul Reed Smith Custom-24 Brazilian
2005 Daisy Rock Retro-H 12ST 12-String
2003 Baby Taylor
2009 Moog Guitar


Rivera Venus 6 with 1x12 extension cabinet
Fractal Audio Systems Axe-Fx II with MFC-101 MIDI Controller


Looperlative LP1 with KMA SoftStep MIDI Controller

Eventide TimeFactor
Eventide PitchFactor
Eventide Space

Moogerfooger MIDI MuRF
Moogerfooger FreqBox
Moogerfooger 12-Stage Phaser
Moogerfooger Ring Modulator
Moogerfooger Cluster Flux

WMD Geiger Counter
Carl Martin Compressor/Limiter
Barber Tone Press Compressor
JangleBox Compressor
Euthymia ICBM Fuzz
SIB Echodrive Tube Delay
Crowther Prunes & Custard
Electro-Harmonix Micro POG
Ernie Ball Volume Pedal


Heet Sound Ebows
Bowhammers built by Michael Masley
Chinese Erhu Bow
Jellifish Plectrum Device