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Barry Cleveland | Memory & Imagination

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Electronic: Ambient Electronic: Ambient Moods: Featuring Guitar
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Memory & Imagination

by Barry Cleveland

Two discs of mostly instrumental music featuring processed guitars, electronics, and percussion, combined with a variety of exotic instruments - traversing ambient electronic, world-fusion, progressive, and improvisational stylistic territories.
Genre: Electronic: Ambient
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Voluntary Dreaming
7:20 $0.99
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2. Ritual Sticks
5:55 $0.99
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3. Visual Purple
2:29 $0.99
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4. The Inward Spiral
3:17 $0.99
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5. Cleopatra's Needle
2:38 $0.99
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6. Hawk Dreaming
4:42 $0.99
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7. Aeon
5:05 $0.99
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8. Abrasax
7:11 $0.99
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9. Mythos
19:10 $0.99
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10. Voluntary Dreaming Alt. Mix
5:30 $0.99
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11. Still Smiling
3:12 $0.99
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12. Signless
3:19 $0.99
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13. Snakey Jake
3:51 $0.99
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14. Bottoms Up
3:27 $0.99
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15. Lucid Mirrors of Eroticism
3:15 $0.99
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16. Memory & Imagination
24:28 $0.99
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17. Echoes on Echoes
4:58 $0.99
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18. Stones of Precious Water
5:23 $0.99
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19. Indigo Runes
5:51 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Barry Cleveland's guitar playing combines psychedelic, ambient, progressive, funk, and various "world" music influences with unusual sounds created using unorthodox playing techniques and electronic processing.

Cleveland released his first commercial album on Larry Fast's Audion Recording Company label in 1986. Mythos combined layers of guitar with Bob Stohl and Kat Epple's woodwinds, synthesizers, and light percussion; and Michael Masley's otherworldly bowhammer cymbalom. The CD received glowing reviews in Option, Jazziz, Stereo Review and CD Review, and was chosen as one of the 25 Best New Age CDs in the 1987 Stereo Review Compact Disc Buyer's Guide (in the company of such other "new age" recordings as Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon).

Voluntary Dreaming, released on Scarlet Records in 1989, also met with critical acclaim. The music had an electronic edge-Cleveland played samplers and synths in addition to electric and acoustic guitars-but also encroached upon "world music" territory with the addition of Michael Pluznick's African and Middle Eastern percussion. Michael Masley's bowhammer cymbalom, and Robert Powell's pedal steel guitar, added exotic harmonic and melodic touches.

During the '90s Cleveland began a parallel career in journalism. Between 1996 and 2002 he worked in various editorial capacities and wrote dozens of articles and product reviews for Mix, Electronic Musician, and Onstage magazines. In mid-2002 he joined the staff of Guitar Player magazine, where he continues to serve as an associate editor. Cleveland's first book, Creative Music Production: Joe Meek's Bold Techniques, was published by MixBooks (artistpro.com) in the Fall of 2001.

The '90s were a busy time musically as well. Cleveland performed with the improvisational quintet Cloud Chamber, a group which included multi-instrumentalist Michael Masley, bassist Michael Manring, cellist Dan Reiter, and percussionist Joe Venegoni. Cloud Chamber performed throughout the San Francisco Bay Area over a period of several years, and released its critically acclaimed Dark Matter CD (produced by Cleveland) in 1998. During this time Cleveland also recorded material that would eventually appear on Volcano and Memory & Imagination.
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Disc 1 presents the most enduring music from Cleveland's Mythos and Voluntary Dreaming albums, while Disc 2 contains previously unreleased music related to those recordings.

Mythos was released by the Audion Recording Company in 1986. The foundation tracks for the 20-minute-long title piece were entirely improvised by Michael Masley (bowhammer cymbalom) and Cleveland (electric guitar with a tape-loop system). These tracks were then slowed down-lowering the pitch-and a second pass recorded. Because the guitar was sometimes played with an Erhu bow, an Ebow, and two Masley bowhammers, it is often difficult to discern who
is playing what. Woodwind and light percussion overdubs by Kat Epple and Bob Stohl—and yet more guitar parts—completed the piece. "Aeon" is an entirely improvised keyboard piece with xylophone added, and "Abrasax" was sparked from experiments with a makeshift guitar gamelon.

Voluntary Dreaming was released on Scarlet Records the following year. Originally intended for release on Audion (an early mix of the title piece appeared on The Best of Both Worlds, the Second Audion Sampler), the recording reflected that label's emphasis on synthesizers and samplers, and was more electronic-sounding than Mythos. It also featured Michael Pluznick's layered ethnic percussion on several pieces, foreshadowing the music on Cleveland's third album, Volcano.

The title Memory & Imagination was originally going to be used for an album of compositions based on guitar and percussion loops that was recorded in 1992. Using an early prototype of a Danish digital looping device called the Paradis Loop Delay (later marketed as the Oberheim/Gibson Echoplex Digital Pro), Cleveland recorded multi-layered loops that were later transferred to a 16-track analog recorder and used as rhythmic or harmonic foundations. The loops and most of the overdubs were entirely improvised-hence the concept of (digital) memory and improvisational imagination. Six pieces were completed but never released. Cleveland rediscovered those six pieces in 2002 while archiving 16-track analog tapes to digital, and decided to remix them using current technology. The multi-track masters tapes of "Lucid Mirrors of Eroticism" and "Memory & Imagination" were compromised and could not be remixed, but fortunately the 1992 stereo mixes sounded good. The other four pieces-"Still Smiling," "Signless," "Snakey Jake," and "Bottoms Up"-were given complete aural makeovers.

The lengthy (24:24) "Memory & Imagination" is based on long, continuously evolving delay lines rather than static loops. It was recorded during a storm, and heavy rainfall can be heard in the background. Other than the Dobro melody at the end, the sounds were all produced with electric guitar and light percussion instruments.

"Echoes on Echoes" is a live improvisation created using a Gibson Echoplex Digital Pro, recorded at Spark on 2/10/03 for the Echoes radio program.

"Stones of Precious Water" and "Indigo Runes" were recorded and mixed in 1981. Both were created by first drastically manipulating and processing taped guitar tracks, and then playing over them. Bob Stohl played Lyricon on "Indigo."

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Reviews


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Peter Thelen, Expose' Magazine

Memory and Imagination is an essential retrospective of Cleveland’s best work.
This two-disc set is essentially a compilation (and a fairly complete one, at that) of Barry Cleveland’s works through the mid 90s. The first disc contains almost all of his first two albums, Mythos (1986) and Voluntary Dreaming (1989), while disc two features the original Memory & Imagination material recorded in the early 90s, two tracks from Stones of Precious Water (private cassette release from 1981), and "Echoes on Echoes," a track recorded in 2003 for John Diliberto’s Echoes radio program. In fact much of Cleveland’s work doesn’t sound like the work of your conventional guitarist at all, but rather a far-reaching compositional visionary who uses whatever instruments and processes necessary to achieve his ends.
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Andy G., CD Services (U.K.)

Different, accessible, and just under two hours of enjoyment.
In many ways, Barry Cleveland was the forerunner of the "guitarist making waves in the synth music world" genre. The odd part about this, as opposed to the more recent guitarists such as Dwane, is that Cleveland made no attempt to let his work "sound" like a synth, and arranged any electronics to serve pretty much as textural filler. And yet he was a strong force in, and loved by, the synth music fraternity.
This CD is a tale of two halves. The first CD looks back on his work from the eighties, taking a gorgeous set of tracks from albums such as Voluntary Dreaming and Mythos, and revealing that the real musical comparison, if you have to, is more someone like Steve Tibbetts than anything, only here, more celestial sounding in the main. The first couple of tracks are guitar chords, layers and textures set to rolling multi-instrument ethnic percussion that has resonance, feel and depth in the same way that someone like Steve Roach uses it. It's a full sound but one that has the effect of watching clouds passing by in a blue sky on a summer's day - magical.
"Visual Purple" is even slower but has flow as the drums and chords become a bit grander and stronger, while "The Inward Spiral" is just Cleveland on piano, synth, guitar textures and samplers, all quite beautifully constructed and played to sound melodic, celestial and slightly eerie. "Cleopatra's Needle" is similar, while the following track, "Hawk Dreaming" sees the pace increased as an electric guitar soars away on top of the resonant bass synth-like and mulit-percussive rhythmic background, with a solo that is just superb and very much in classic Tibbetts mould, a fantastic track.
Then come the three tracks from the Mythos album, first a five-minute slice of lazy elegance with drifting synths, lilting xylophones and gorgeous guitar clouds. Then comes a track—the seven minutes of "Abrasax"—that could almost be out of the Fripp way of doing things. With Discipline-era-styled searing guitar and Lyricon lines that weave a thread across layers of the trademark cascading Fripp-esque guitar rhythms, but around all this a bass synth line resonates, and that cyclical percussive backdrop adds extra depth. Another fantastic piece of music.
You get the whole 19 minutes of the Mythos title track that starts very exotic with tinkling percussion, hushed flowing flute, almost violin-like sweeps and a high-register flute and distant textures in the background, as the piece evolves, flowing, drifting and flying with texture, atmosphere, melody and grace. With a constantly changing instrumental arrangement, it is this combination of guitars, Lyricon, flutes and percussion that charts a full-sounding and largely essentially rhythm-free course through the track. Ending with a rather fine remix of the first track, this has to be seen as a wondrous CD.
CD2 is nearly all previously unreleased music, this time from the early Nineties. Three of them were recorded with Dobro/slide guitarist Carl Weingarten, who adds his extra soundscapes and melodies to the tracks, the album's title track being a mammoth 24-minute piece that features Weingarten on Dobro and Cleveland on guitar, bowed guitar, Ebow guitar and bowhammer guitar. One that starts in celestial mood then, over the course of its length, gradually intensifies, with ever more layers added, eventually a rhythm breaking out from the cyclical guitars towards the fifteen-minute point as the track moves to Gunther Schickert territory for this finale of cyclical guitars and flowing warm backdrops.
Elsewhere we hear the guitars, electronics and percussion at one end and the Fripp-meets-Tibbetts stuff at the other, the five-minute guitar-only piece "Echoes On Echoes" being the one in question to represent the latter style. But throughout the feel is one of warmth, space, multi-leveled soundscaping, melodic without being tune-laden and generally washing over you with a replenishing effect.
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Peter Thelen, Expose' Magazine

Memory and Imagination is an essential retrospective of Cleveland’s best work.
This two-disc set is essentially a compilation (and a fairly complete one, at that) of Barry Cleveland’s works through the mid 90s. The first disc contains almost all of his first two albums, Mythos (1986) and Voluntary Dreaming (1989), while disc two features the original Memory & Imagination material recorded in the early 90s, two tracks from Stones of Precious Water (private cassette release from 1981), and "Echoes on Echoes," a track recorded in 2003 for John Diliberto’s Echoes radio program. In fact much of Cleveland’s work doesn’t sound like the work of your conventional guitarist at all, but rather a far-reaching compositional visionary who uses whatever instruments and processes necessary to achieve his ends.
Read more...