Tigersushi presents its first New York-based release since its founder Joakim moved and set up his studio there 4 years ago and this couldn’t be more rooted in all the things we love about the New York music and art scene, past and present.
Gryphon Rue is a young New Yorker, a real one, born and raised, a rare breed, who spent his childhood between Woodstock and Greenwich Village. The great grandson of the legendary artist Alexander Calder, he began his music career as a songwriter absorbing Mississippi John Hurt and Laurie Anderson in equal measure, all the while cultivating a sense of the arts as raw pigment for sonic hybrids and blends.
Those familiar with Tigersushi know that we usually fall for artists that are not « only » musicians, for creative spirits who have interests and a practice that goes beyond making music, and Gryphon definitely falls in that category. Only in his mid 20s, he’s been involved in various Art projects and he’s already curating a major exhibition that will happen at Ballroom Marfa in Texas in March 2017.
In 2015, Gryphon released a debut self-produced album titled « Guilt Vacation » as El Tryptophan, an opus channeling the intrepid spirit of avant-rock like Brian Eno’s Another Green World, Colin Newman’s A-Z, or Atlas Sound’s Logos. Joakim eventually met Gryphon around that time through a common friend and when he heard « Google Portrait » on that album, he was instantly seduced by the emotional intensity of the song.
« It is a beautiful minimal folk song but also an intense one, with great lyrics and those child choirs that I always love. » says Joakim. « After some time hanging out, discussing music and other things, we were at a performance at Moma/PS1 and Gryphon suggested that we try to record a new version of Google Portrait in my studio, to see how such a good song would translate in another musical ‘language’. And there we were a few days later. »
And here we are, Google Portrait went from that intimate folk song to this big drum machine based avant-pop song that conveys all the heroes that made New York legendary: a bit of Arthur Russell avant garde funk, some Arto Lindsay noisy fumes, that Talking Heads arty pop attitude, and a big contemporary sound.
On the B side, you’ll hear the song Beethoven for Relaxation which showcases Rue’s more experimental soundscaping side. The song evokes music heard in a dream—picture the ghostly ballroom scene in « The Shining », or distant sounds coming through the woods from a rave.
Both songs come up with outstanding videos. Google Portrait was made from Gryphon responding to video feedback delay from a hacked TiVo, a custom analog video synthesizer set-up « played » by video artist Benton C Bainbridge, who brought his DIY visuals to the Beastie Boys’ « 5 Boroughs » World Tour. All the FX were recorded directly onto the footage of Gryphon, as the synth treated his face and body as a heat meter.
Beethoven for Relaxation was created by Max Grey in his cascading Stan Brakhage-influenced style from all-original footage of personal relationships, places, cats, and homes..