Review Summary: An excellent guitarist who played with Robert Fripp shows he can do much more than that.
Formally, Patrick Grant has only two albums under his belt under his own name - Tilted Axes: Music for Mobile Electric Guitars (2016) and this, his 2017 outing, A Sequence of Waves. So in that respect, he is not somebody you could count under a household music name. In any genre. But then, that might not exactly be the case.
Grant is actually the guy who broke a 2013 Guinness World Record with a performance of 175 electronic keyboards in New York. He is also the founder of the “International Strange Music Day (August 24) and has started an electric guitar procession, Titled Axes, hence the title of his first album. Then there are scores for “The Living Theatre” and Robert Wilson, music for installations at the Louvre museum in Paris and his directing the European premiere of Morton Feldman/Samuel Beckett electronic opera in Vienna.
But where Grant’s name might have popped up, particularly with experimental/progressive music fans was the fact that for five years he was a member of Robbert Fripp’s Orchestra of Crafty Guitarists, and this is where the story of A Sequence of Waves as an album begins.
As it would be easy to guess form the mentioned facts of Grant’s work, the electric guitar is Grant’s primary instrument and it would be an understatement to say that he excels at it. For proof, you wouldn’t have to go further than the three introductory tracks on this album, “Lucid Intervals,” “Driving Patterns” and “Prelude I”. But then comes the trio of “Alcohol’” Tobacco,” and yes, you guessed it “Firearms” that accentuate Grant’s progressive leanings, with an accent on his obviously vast knowledge of classical music. But it is neither breakneck speed with changes after every twenty seconds progressive nor the bombastic, symphonic prog. Grant obviously had the intention to keep the showmanship contained to the necessities of the musical ideas he is trying to present. Not that he is unable to come up with some speed and bombast, if needed, like in the Yes-like “Breaking Butterflies Upon a Wheel”.
But then Grant makes thing a bit more complicated and further bends the genre-hopping by coming up with an almost ambient piece in “Lonely Ride Coney Island” a Residents-like version of the Bossa Boca classic “One Note Samba” (no vocals though) and an exquisite working of the folk sea shanty “Seven Years at Sea”. All in all, a satisfying and varying musical treat from Grant.