Livestream Oakland, CA
Players: Ed Grey, bass, guitar, keyboard
Material: Ed Grey is an avant-garde, ambient musician living and playing in California. Under the name ELG Publishing, the tones he creates are equal parts soothing, wondrous and disturbing. A minimalist noisemaker whose artistic vision runs considerably beyond the mainstream, his abstract soundscapes should appeal to aficionados of dark artists such as Pete Namlook, Tetsu Inoue, and Death Cube K. Curious listeners should check out the many pay-as-you-want downloads available on his sparsely constructed website.
Musicianship: Grey has made a practice of serving up nightly livestreams via Twitch. A lone wolf, he appears in these mysterious broadcasts entirely without accompaniment. His sound isn’t one that demands technical prowess. Instead, he creates galaxies of moods through carefully placed plucks and thumps, splashing notes into the ether and allowing their colors to reverberate through space and time. Certainly, his ability to play multiple instruments displays a level of musical competency that demands respect. Unfortunately, every droning, minimalistic piece bears an off-putting similarity to the next.
Performance: Like a transmission from another dimension, Grey silently appears, communicates through sound, and then disappears just as inexplicably. The black-and-white presentation, and the presence of a mannequin with a hand where its head should be, increases the surrealistic vibe. He offers no explanations for his lyric-free compositions, which feel like missives from beyond the grave, or a forgotten soundtrack to Un Chien Andalou.
Summary: For those who believe that our world is in desperate need of a break from normality, ELG Publishing is a welcome addition. Grey’s sonorous drones dip into our psyches and unleash new perspectives on what could and should be. Regretfully, the barren, unstructured nature of his sound sculptures makes them difficult to digest. True artists create art regardless of its marketability, yet there’s nothing wrong with making money via one’s creativity. Grey should work on packaging his interstellar virtuosity so that it reaches citizens of this planet as effectively as it must those on others.