Jeff Greinke

Jeff Greinke


First World Music

Jeff Greinke/Anisa Romero


First World Music

There is some verrry interesting new music coming out of the Seattle area? Never thought you’d hear that one again, did you? Well, throw away your guitars, this new revolution is a whole lot more cerebral and serene. First World Music seems to be a fertile ground for innovative new sounds, and from what I gather, Jeff Greinke is at the center of much of this activity. Vital stats: Greinke has been composing in the musical and visual arts for about twenty years now (though he still looks disarmingly young), and he has amassed a stunning canon of nearly twenty releases. Greinke’s latest projects include collaborations with Krist Novoselic, Bill Rieflin, and these two gems.

Ride is a more groove-laden take on what could be coined space-rock or ambient soundtracks. Greinke is impressively adept at layering sounds without the end result sounding fussy or crowded. The end result is by no means minimalist, but there is ample space for every note to breathe. Greinke throws in just about everything but the kitchen sink instrumentally-synths, programmed beats, live percussion, guitar, bass, piano, a variety of strings, horns, bells — while avoiding the cardinal sin of indulgence. Thank you, sir! My only problem with it is that it does not move me. I feel uneasy when the record ends, and I start it up again trying to find the missing piece. Ghost music for deserted ships.

I much prefer Greinke’s partnership with Anisa Romero in Hana . For the record, Romero is the enigmatic voice behind Sky Cries Mary. During Hana ‘s best moments, Greinke and Romero almost reach the heavenly spires once inhabited by Dead Can Dance and long since deserted. This is most evident on “Smoke,” where airy strings wrap vapour trails around muted bells and nearly suffocated synth lines. Over it all, Anissa’s voice rises and falls in a gorgeous lament. Greinke and Romero craft soundscapes that have a dark Middle Eastern feel to them, elegance blends with shadows. The harmonium on “Above the Head” reminds me of Nico’s desolate solo work, and “Lizard Opera” brims over with lush menace. Some of these tracks were used for various ballets and performance pieces and it shows in Greinke and Romero’s expert evocation of space and mood. Hana is songs for drowning.

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