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    Grant Cutler – Self Portrait

    Grant Cutler - Self Portrait

    I’m confused. The title of this CD by composer and musician Grant Cutler is Self Portrait, but the photo on the cover is not one he took of himself. It’s a napping woman. There’s a similar issue with the back cover. When I first saw it, I thought, “Oh, how clever: knife blades, as in cutlery, as in Grant Cutler.” Upon closer inspection in brighter light, though, I realized that the blades in question are actually plants, not knives. Derp! That’s okay, though. I’ll bet they’re still sharp enough to cut like a knife, like Bryan Adams said. But, yeah, this whole package, at least on a visual level, is all kinds of misleading. And it all revolves around Grant Cutler and his sharp name.

    Anyway, enough with the visuals! Let’s start off our aural journey by heading down to “Georgia,” where we immerse ourselves in a realm full of power ambient chamber rock that repeatedly fades and swells into a cinematic climax. Following that is “The Dream I Float Away,” in which more mellow droning goes down and indeed floats the listener away, while “Self Portrait” shares a spare melodic piano line accompanied by swelling strings seemingly played with selfie sticks. The next thing you know, we’re “Falling Asleep in the Streets” with the help of some super mellow ambience that is so relaxing, the woman on the cover of this CD falls asleep along with us.

    Even though there is not a “Part One” to be found on this album, “Part Two” somehow appears out of nowhere and wakes us back up with a dissonant organ blast that seques into yet more ambience complete with piano tinkles and another outburst imbued with some vague Oval-esque interruptions. Next, we head home and proceed down the “Stairwell,” where we encounter a spare, contemplative piano line hanging out with a violin drone. As long as we’re poking around down here in the basement, we may as well take a peak in that dusty old bookshelf and check out “Paroxysm,” in which a quivering synth blast heralds layers of roaring noise and that skittering-between-the radio-stations sound. Finally, out in the backyard pool, we find ourselves “Drowning” as a bunch of shimmering synth drones and a lyrical violin propel a billowing, dissonant climax that calls to mind nothing less than the instant creation of an entire planet; a world in which this gorgeous album should be perfect for fans of, I don’t know, Harold Budd? Correct me if I’m wrong.

    Label: Innova Catalog Number: Innova 961 Format: CD Packaging: Digi-Pak Tracks: 8 Total Time: 38:33 Country: United States Released: 2017 More: Bandcamp, Innova, Twitter

    Text ©2017 Arcane Candy

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