SOUNDTRACKS


Expert and meticulous work through and through
author: K. Leimer
There’s a profound difference between what soundtracks are capable of and what they typically do. Jeff Greinke’s new CD, Soundtracks, which incorporates pieces for film, performance and dance, is comprised of extremely refined and carefully considered music that creates some profoundly interesting states and is much more developed and interesting than the typical soundtrack. Of course, it’s always a little tricky to evaluate soundtracks in the absence of whatever imagery or activity the music was intended to support. And often times, stripped of the distractions or the added interest of film or performance or dance, such music can seem distressingly uninteresting. Which is just one small reason that Soundtracks is such a standout. The music here does not sacrifice structural or harmonic complexity for the sake of simply providing background for another medium. Instead, it is easy to imagine that the work here finds a more direct interaction with its subject matter. Rather than being subservient, the music on Soundtracks has the depth and detail that invites and rewards close listening. It’s the sort of music that makes you more interested in seeing the particular work of which it is meant to be a part. Greinke’s efforts range from tranquil to unsettled, from some truly beautifully written passages realized with cello and piano, to intricate, heavily treated and nearly atonal soundscapes that remain very musical, refusing to degenerate into sound. The individual pieces seem carefully sequenced, so the overall effect is highly integrated, almost seamless in its progress from one form to another. In addition to the musical accomplishment, the production is very carefully wrought: each track creates a unique spatial sense that is easily as integral an aspect of the piece as the instruments themselves. Soundtracks is expert and meticulous work, through and through. K. LEIMER – – – e/i magazine
Expert and meticulous work through and through
author: K. Leimer
There’s a profound difference between what soundtracks are capable of and what they typically do. Jeff Greinke’s new CD, Soundtracks, which incorporates pieces for film, performance and dance, is comprised of extremely refined and carefully considered music that creates some profoundly interesting states and is much more developed and interesting than the typical soundtrack. Of course, it’s always a little tricky to evaluate soundtracks in the absence of whatever imagery or activity the music was intended to support. And often times, stripped of the distractions or the added interest of film or performance or dance, such music can seem distressingly uninteresting. Which is just one small reason that Soundtracks is such a standout. The music here does not sacrifice structural or harmonic complexity for the sake of simply providing background for another medium. Instead, it is easy to imagine that the work here finds a more direct interaction with its subject matter. Rather than being subservient, the music on Soundtracks has the depth and detail that invites and rewards close listening. It’s the sort of music that makes you more interested in seeing the particular work of which it is meant to be a part. Greinke’s efforts range from tranquil to unsettled, from some truly beautifully written passages realized with cello and piano, to intricate, heavily treated and nearly atonal soundscapes that remain very musical, refusing to degenerate into sound. The individual pieces seem carefully sequenced, so the overall effect is highly integrated, almost seamless in its progress from one form to another. In addition to the musical accomplishment, the production is very carefully wrought: each track creates a unique spatial sense that is easily as integral an aspect of the piece as the instruments themselves. Soundtracks is expert and meticulous work, through and through. K. LEIMER – – – e/i magazine
author: Phil Derby
By inference, these six pieces are apparently soundtracks to various short films, hence the name of the CD. Greinke has experimented with a variety of sounds over the years, from dark ambient to rock and seemingly everything in between. Here the emphasis is on soft delicate textural pieces. “Gradual Motion (dream)” has strings, sparse piano, and an oboe-like synth. The strings in particular set a melancholy tone. “Oil and Water” is by far the longest track at nearly 27 minutes, and is well worth every minute. The musical canvas paints a pastoral serene picture, perfect for quiet reflection or just taking it in as it comes. A certain dark ambient edginess churns things up just a bit in the middle, and this mood deepens as the piece develops, though it turns brighter again toward the end. “Closing” is barely there at 1:44, a pretty flowing track with piano and atmospheric synths. The understated piano playing is excellent throughout, somewhat like Harold Budd, Brian Eno or A Produce, but with Greinke’s own take on it. “Foster Island” floats and swirls in dark misty pools, again a touch on the sad side, beautifully rendered and yet quite masculine, not even close to new age fluff. Darkest yet is “Over Water,” with a drone that breathes in and out as its foundation as subtle synth sounds come and go. Lastly is “5,000 Falling Souls,” the lightest and most structured piece, as bell tones gently ring out a soft melody, though there is still plenty of open space for the other sounds to explore. Soundtracks is all about picture music, well done throughout. © 2005 Phil Derby / Electroambient Space
author: Chuck van Zyl/STAR’S END
Every electronic musician is eventually advised, by helpful neighbors or well-meaning relatives, to look into doing soundtrack work. Along with being the most obvious recommendation ever, it is also the most naive as making music for the movies is the desire of just about every musician and so competitive as to be achieved by only a select few. From the seclusion of his studio, Jeff Greinke has been making music for use in film, dance and performance art. The album Soundtracks (67’13”) compiles six commissions which are fully realized ambient works in and of themselves. This album may, at first, come across as somewhat uncharacteristic of Greinke’s more well-known output, concentrating on the gentler side of his creativity. But Greinke brings to these projects his own unique sound and personality, especially in the darker moments. These pieces are more than just a catalogue of textures and processing systems. His music has always been about ambience, climate and mood; compelling through its subtlety, and as a soundtrack composer, Greinke is off to a good start. The works on Soundtracks are all custom tailored and specific for each project. Video drafts were composed against. The music then went back and forth between Greinke and his director until reaching an accord. Overall, these distinctive and original works are haunted by vague references to other great independent soundtrack artists and 20th Century composers, but consistently manages to dwell at the fringes of this obscure genre and well outside conventional standards. Unlike many soundworld pieces, here the composer is fully in attendance during every moment. Each movement precisely nudged, paced and drifted into areas prescribed by a visual counterpart. The centerpiece of this album is the epic length “Oil and Water” (26’45”), a somber piece of beautiful harmonies and elegant timbres which slowly disintegrates into discord. Becoming a dark and moody meditation on slow and churning change, the track portrays an invented dreamlike environment – a place in the wild conjured by Greinke’s cerebral and electronic atonality. Passing on through the subdued tones, the arc of this sonic journey rises to brighter, friendlier terrain.. to a pronounced awakening. The mind has corridors surpassing material place and travelling this piece, and this album, is wonderful, even without the visual images it has been created in union with.