Highly recommended. Overall this is a well-crafted intimate symphonic experience performed by just a few very talented musicians that provide a rich full textured journey through the end of the night and bringing you up to the gathering daylight. The sounds are light and detailed, lots of depth and feeling, in dark territory without being gloomy or morose. This is a spacious and majestic gift from Greinke, a work of sublime harmonic texture and ambient impressionism, he is an artist with great talents.
The feeling is perfect, like a performance in a small gallery. It is not for everyone; it has a refined special ambience going on. Everyone there in the small gallery space loves what they hear and those who are not there are always welcome, but this is a deeply personal pleasure. It seems somewhat uncomfortable to invite someone to sit through who does not listen deeply, they very likely would not enjoy our secret ambrosia for the mind and just might create a distraction.
Before Sunrise is classical chamber music from the future, available to us today. Jeff Greinke is an American composer and conductor of ambient music, a jazz artist, as well as a visual artist. He is living in Tucson, Arizona and the music has that odd desert feeling, ancient and dry. He uses the studio as his imagination launcher. By my calculations, this is his 22nd solo studio album. He has been releasing recordings since the early 1980s and has a load of collaborative releases with his bands LAND and Hanna, as well as collaborations with Rob Angus, Pierre Perret, Art Zoyd and J. A. Deane. Also, an EP, titled Dream The Red Clouds with Faith & Disease, a Seattle based ethereal wave project, now retired.
What I hear on the album Before Sunrise is a fantastic, slow and luxurious mixture of ambient recordings with bugs and strange night creaking creatures, blended with old fashioned actual classical instruments such as strings, horns, and woodwinds all finished on top with a synthesizer glow. I want to separate the strings, horns, and woodwind sounds on this album from artificial synthesizer brews. This sound is real, and you can tell instantly, you can hear the human hand.
Greinke has gathered sounds from a wide variety of sources: piano, synthesizers, viola, winds, vibraphone, brass, cello, sampled textures, with other electronic elements. He is joined by Greg Campbell (percussion, vibraphone and French horn), Lesli Dalaba (trumpet), Jim DeJoie (clarinets, saxophones flutes), Alex Guy (viola), Paris Hurley (violin), Austin Larkin (viola, violin), and Dylan Rieck (cello). This album was five years in the making and was recorded in Tucson and Seattle.
“High Flyers Of The Night Sky” has a dreamy feeling, looking up at those strange objects weaving about so far above, the air is delicate and breathless the viola and brass are real, again, not a synthesizer pretending to be an instrument, you can hear the sound of bow on string and breath in metal, slightly quivering.
Long slow notes as the train progresses, there is no chugga train clatter, just your own dawn thoughts in the coach as the night fades and the sky is huge. The horizon comes only as dawn fades, it has been gone all night. The strings have the center blending with each other and opening up wider, the horns answer in the distance with long glowing notes. This is “Slow Train On An Open Plain”. Fantastic!
“Night Watch” goes on forever and while it has got you, things are not what they seemed before the music was playing. Its consistent with the rest of the night tonight, you don’t want to miss anything. It is seamless and suspenseful.
“The River” flows along through a variety of textures and landscapes, all in darkness but with a melodic burble. This is the sparkler of the stash, get it out when you need a refreshing and quietly joyful song.
Looking up it just goes on forever, “Under Falling Stars”. The layers of sound cascade upwards, the falling stars themselves are rare but you can see them.
“Mountains And Clouds” come billowing slowly into view, shimmering like distant water somehow hoovering suspended in the air.
“Rain, Then Snow” features a piano reverberating, rapid delicate little notes. The weather sounds like it could be harsh but it’s refreshing and invigorating to hear.
“Before Sunrise” is a sound sculpture supreme, with flutes, with wind in the dark, strings to hold you snuggly up in the breeze, and inquiring textures of the volatile deep subtle dreamscape that you can only find before dawn and then it vanishes. - Robin James, BrainVoyager