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Electronic: Ambient Electronic: Soundscapes Moods: Instrumental Moods: Type: Instrumental New Age: Ambient

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West Riding

Hello! My name isn’t really “West Riding,” it’s James M. Gregg, but like many artists in this general style of ambient/electronic/genre-defying music, I use a pseudonym. Not because it’s cool or I want to make myself out to be someone I’m not, like some sort of egoistic poser, but because what we call “self” or “personal identity” is in fact a nebulous, amorphous and entirely undefinable thing. That doesn’t stop us from trying to build from scraps and pieces a notion of who we are or want to be, of course, but that’s an exercise I’ve mostly abandoned after decades of trying and failing (because failure is really the ultimate outcome to any sense of self-building ).

All philosophical proselytizing aside, as an actual human existing on the planet, I’m a musician, of course, but also a father and a teacher and a Buddhist practitioner and student, conflating and synthesizing a hybrid of Theravada/Thai Forest teachings with Zen/Ch’an, with a little sprinkling of Tibetan and who-are-we-kidding just about every other tradition because they’re really all the same anyway. My spiritual practice has had quite the effect on my artistic output, as evidenced with my most recent release, 2018’s “My Wyoming Within.” Detailed liner notes are available with that album that go into rather unnecessary detail as to the origins and themes of that project, so I won’t belabor the point here, but I do wish to reiterate that all proceeds from the sale of that album are donated to worthy causes in a spirit of “dana” (generosity).

My previous release, “Nothing Left But Light,” is equally evocative, albeit in a – noisier – and more experimental way. Where “My Wyoming Within” is based on various field recordings, is more rhythmic, more sonorous, and features my trumpet improvisations as the dominant voice, “Nothing Left But Light” utilizes found sounds and analog electronics, is virtually devoid of tempo and is more dissonant in places. Perhaps, as any artist likely hopes, the two recordings are indicative of the place my heart/mind were at that particular juncture in my life. And who knows then, what the next project will be like, or when it will come?

(By the way, in case you were wondering at all about the significance of my fake name, the moniker “West Riding” is a nod to my family history. My great-great-grandfather Meshach and the vast majority of his kin were born and raised in the West Riding, a district in Yorkshire, England (there is also a North, East, and South Riding). Meshach and his brood were the first Greggs in that line of descent to leave for the left side of the pond and emigrate to America in the late 1890s.)

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