When Barry Cleveland isn’t talking guitar with people like Jeff Beck, David Gilmour, Ry Cooder, Tony Iommi, and John Frusciante, he’s busy recording globally acclaimed progressive rock and world fusion music. For more than 25 years, his epic compositions and virtuoso, eclectic guitar work have been celebrated by critics and listeners alike. And for the last decade, he’s served as a key editor at Guitar Player magazine, holding court with the world’s most important musicians and enabling them to make statements to a massive global audience. Now, it’s Cleveland’s turn to make his own timely statement with his fifth album Hologramatron.
Hologramatronis a 21st Century protest record with songs featuring biting, sometimes brutal, commentary on the state of the Western world. It’s a musical response to contemporary social, political, and even spiritual realities. The disc draws inspiration from a musical continuum spanning art rock, psychedelia, metal, ambient, world music, trance, and funk.
The cast of players joining Cleveland comprises some of the most respected musicians of the avant-rock scene, including bass innovator Michael Manring; drummer Celso Alberti (Steve Winwood); pedal-steel iconoclast Robert Powell (Peter Gabriel, Jackson Browne), vocalists Amy X Neuburg, Deborah Holland (Stanley Clarke, Stewart Copeland), and Harry Manx. Other renowned contributors include Turkish electro-acoustic guitarist Erdem Helvacioglu, percussionists Gino Robair and Rick Walker, and cymbalom master Michael Masley, a.k.a. the infamous “Artist General.”
Cleveland wrote all of the songs on Hologramatron, with the exception of two covers — Malvina Reynolds’ anti-nuclear proliferation anthem “What Have They Done to the Rain” and Joe Meek’s iconic “Telstar.” Bonus tracks include remixes by Evan Schiller (“Lake of Fire”) and Forrest Fang (“Abandoned Mines”), as well as an alternate mix of “You’ll Just Have to See It to Believe.” Grammy Award-winning engineer John Cuniberti mastered the album.
Cleveland is all about sound— from his guitar playing to his compositions to his production — and it’s the deeply layered, highly nuanced, cutting-edge sonics that unify his wildly diverse material. Cleveland’s earlier work was more ambient and impressionistic (Mythos, released on Larry Fast’s Audion label, received rave reviews in Option, Jazziz, and Stereo Review) and his last recording explored instrumental world fusion (Volcanogarnered accolades in All About Jazz, Abstract Logix, Innerviews, and Progression) — but Hologramatron pushes multiple musical envelopes simultaneously.
In addition to playing acoustic and electric 6- and 12-string guitars on Hologramatron, Cleveland utilized a prototype of the revolutionary Moog Guitar and both acoustic and electric GuitarViols — hybrid bowed instruments tuned like a guitar — along with myriad effects processors and alternative playing devices such as a Chinese erhu bow, Masley Bowhammers, and the Ebow.
Barry Cleveland is also the author of Creative Music Production: Joe Meek's Bold Techniques.
For more information, check out www.barrycleveland.com.