ROGER KLEIER: Deep Night, Deep Autumn
American Record Guide:
"He has a knack for creating rich, beautiful textures, which really shine
because of the expert production."
New Music Box:
"Electronic sampling, guitar effects, and extended technique enhance his
music that fuses Clapton-like riffs with alternate tunings, Middle Eastern licks,
and some old-fashioned noise."
guitarist Roger Kleier is an important part of New York’s
downtown new music scene. He regularly performs and records with a variety
of established, leading-edge musicians, including Kato Hideki, Ikue Mori,
David Moss, Phill Niblock, Marc Ribot, Elliott Sharp, LaDonna Smith, Carl
Stone, Davey Williams, and others.
Kleier seduces listeners by mutating
his guitar in various ways, ranging from the hallowed techniques of Jimi
Hendrix and Captain Beefheart, through the extended techniques of avant-garde
guitar-mangling, to the recent technological innovations of sampling, layering,
and digital sound processing. His unique style draws equally from improvisation,
contemporary classical music, and the American guitar traditions of blues,
jazz, and rock.
Elliott Sharp writes that this CD is “a bittersweet record,” where “drones
melt into lyrical melody,” where “the sweetsour wistfulness of
detuned chords, existing completely outside of any European tonal sensibility,
morphs into geological mass,” and where “gradual processes and
the sensuality of the rich timbres” draw the listener “deeper
and deeper” into “full immersion.”
The CD’s music emerges
from strong emotional associations of the composer. The
Juan Cortina Suite was inspired by the legendary nineteenth-century
outlaw and military leader Juan Cortina, who holds a special place in
Mexican-American popular culture as a symbol of resistance to the long-running
history of anti-Hispanic racism in the U.S. In July 1859, in Brownsville,
Texas, Cortina witnessed an Anglo marshal pistol-whipping a local Mexican.
Cortina demanded that the officer stop, but he refused. Cortina then shot
and wounded the Marshal, and fled with the abused man on his horse. Later
that year, after the U.S. had annexed the Texas territories, the environment
for local Mexican-Americans had grown very hostile. Lynchings were common.
In September, Cortina led a raid on Brownsville and freed Hispanics that
had been wrongly imprisoned there. Texas called in the United States army,
and Cortina was forced to retreat into Mexico, where he died in 1892. Kleier
comments that “Cortina’s
story has a natural attraction for me, as I am Mexican-American and I
experienced bigotry first-hand when I lived in Texas during the 1970s.”
We Speak of Deep Night is a three part through-composed
work that explores the contradictions involved with forging together static
ideas with relentless tension, using the ebb and flow of timbres and densities.
an interlude constructed from distorted guitar samples. The piece’s
pungent tones were inspired by the paintings of Philipino artist Manuel Ocampo,
noted for his juxtapositions of controversial images and styles. Lodi,
a solo concert piece, is named for a town in the dry and sunbaked San Joaquin
Valley in Northern California.
Chambers Street was written in memory
of cellist Tom Cora, who lived on Chambers Street in Manhattan for many
years and passed away in 1998. Kleier recalls, “I always enjoyed his elastic
melodies and Arabic-sounding passages.”
Inspired by a meteor shower witnessed
while at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program in California, Woodside Meteor was
immortalized by San Francisco sculptor Walter Robinson, who carved a large
meteor out of wood inspired by the event.
We Speak of Deep Autumn is
a process composition that uses layered loops of electric guitar. The loops
were altered in several different ways with a multi-effects unit, then
overdubbed many times. It was inspired by dusk and how one’s eyes adjust
slowly with the descending darkness, as colors slowly shift until only silhouettes
The title of this brooding, elegiac CD was inspired by a
quote from the Soviet poet and war correspondent Ilya Ehrenburg: “We speak of deep night,
and we speak of deep autumn – when we speak of Stalingrad, we will speak
of deep war.”
An earlier Kleier CD, Klangenbang, was called “Impressive
stuff!” by The Wire, and Option declared that “adventurous
guitar fans and anyone with ears wide open should seek this out.”