Jeff Greinke: A Thousand Year Flood (CD)

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1. Alone on a Long Stretch of Road
2. Unseen
3. A Thousand Year Flood
4. Losing Time
5. The Forest
6. Earth and Sky
7. Upon a River that Still Flows
8. Making Way
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Information in English here. Click to order CD.





Limited edition of 300


Genres: Neo-Classical, Ambient, Minimal, Post-Classical
RIYL: Olafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm, Johann Johannsson, Max Richter, Hania Rani


Turning shadows into sonic emotional rivers, synthesist and composer Jeff Greinke’s A Thousand Year Flood skirts the edges where modern classical, electronic and ambient music converge. Working with cellist/violist Heather Bentley, Greinke’s first record for Projekt in 26 years is a hybrid of ambient chamber music and electroacoustic beauty. Throughout the near-hour-long set, atmosphere is critical to the impact as Greinke locates his paired-back minimalism within a setting of spaciousness and sensitivity.


A Thousand Year Flood,” Greinke explains, “represents further explorations in composing electroacoustic music which I began over a decade ago. This time rather than working with an ensemble I focus on one instrumentalist – cellist/violist Heather Bentley. It became clear early on in the process that Heather’s understanding of my approach, sound, and sensibilities had deepened since we began working together in 2019 for the album Other Weather. Whether working with scored parts, improvising under my direction, or freely exploring her own ideas over my sketched out sections, Heather’s thoughtful expressions fit seamlessly within my own. Heather’s voice is unique, lending a more expansive breadth of harmonic richness and emotional body to these compositions.”


“I am greatly fascinated by the mixing of synthetic and acoustic sounds, sometimes blurring them to create an hybrid of timbres and textures as evidenced in the title track, ‘The Forest,’ and ‘Upon a River that Still Flows,’ whereas other times keeping them very distinct yet cohesive as in ‘Earth and Sky.'”


“Although in the last four-plus decades my work has veered in a few different directions, the exploration of raw sound itself and the treating and layering of such sounds to create complex and interesting textures, moods and atmospheres, has always been my primary focus. With A Thousand Year Flood, there’s a richness and evocativeness I achieve by utilizing less sonic material, paring back the amount of instrumental layering which is something I’ve strived towards for a long time. It’s a pleasure hearing it come together like this. It’s quite rewarding and exciting!”


On his 23rd release, Jeff Greinke realizes an engaging balance between consonance and dissonance, timbre and shade, ambience and aura. His impressionistic ambient chamber music shimmers in the passing light of melodic stringed textures and shifting electronic shadow.

Projekt release: April 7 2023

A review from Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END: Jeff Greinke continues his intense creative ferment on A Thousand Year Flood (57'56"). After decades devoted to refining his craft these eight interactions between form and tone seem perfectly effortless. Each piece proceeds like a somnambular dance, with Greinke, along with cellist Heather Bentley and clarinetist James DeJoi, conjuring landscapes, worlds and realms that exist only for the few precious moments each piece endures. Flickering briefly alive to share their private melody, moody texture and shadowy thoughts, chords play and try to progress toward a resolution, but become lost — floating back to the forefront again and again. Unhurried notes emerge out of a soft aura of reverberation, to disappear with dreamy deliberation. This Ambient Music builds and shapes, breathes and sighs, blooms and sleeps, then detours into unexpected zones, tones, textures and states — leaving behind nothing more than a mysterious human trace. The relentless drive to make sense of our condition is palpable throughout A Thousand Year Flood. From the vaporous, melodious piano, synths and strings, to the sonic shapes at the edge of perception, it reduces geometries while transforming the phenomenon of sound into another, finer reality. Providing a different temperature of cool, this music is about a feeling, an expression — and the enigmatic substance of which we are all made.  

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Reviews

  1. Reviews Editor

    From Audion #74

    Some thirty albums on and 35 years since we first discovered him and then reported on him in Audion, he has since ventured away from his roots and then returned to them, and here takes big steps aside from all that with a very pianistic focused album that’s full of haunting themes and fragile beauty. The keys to any success in this field are not sounding like yet another “Brian Eno doing ambient” wannabe, and (above all) doing something with a unique character. Well, some of this does resemble Eno, yet there are quite a few different touches, not least the cello player who features on quite a few tracks, and the subtle electronics that all seem to stem from harmonics of the actual instruments that are played. So, it’s one part old school ambient and one part neo-classical, but done with a with a post rock mindset. -Alan Freeman

  2. Reviews Editor

    From Exposé
    Over thirty years ago I was introduced to Jeff Greinke’s music via a split-CD with Art Zoyd (the reason for my purchase) and J.A. Deane; no title, but the music spoke for itself and left me wanting to hear more of what he had on offer. Over time I’ve managed to amass about a quarter of his thirty-or-so releases; every one has been a pleasant surprise, and A Thousand Year Flood is no different. Here, the compositions are an eerie blend of introspective ambient, flowing electronic, and chamber sounds that cross the realms of psychoacoustics and dreamscapes; something is always happening in the stirring cauldron of sound, but without a lot of repetition or predictability, always offering something warm and gentle to the listener’s senses.

    In addition to Greinke’s synths and piano, many of the album’s eight pieces feature arrangements for strings (cello, viola, and violin courtesy of Heather Bentley), and one piece, “The Forest,” also features clarinet by James DeJoie. The title track is one of two pieces that approaches or exceeds the ten minute mark, a cloudburst of shimmering strings and mysterious cavernous synths, casting light and shadows over swells and scintillations that join earth and space — it’s almost unthinkable that such beautiful sound sculptures and arrangements would be the soundtrack to a great thousand year flood, but who am I to interpret the composer’s inspiration? “Earth and Sky” is a certain standout among the album’s tracks, based on a beautiful rising melody interspersed with emotion, calling forth bursts of viola and cello. “Upon a River That Still Flows” is another long piece, clocking in at nearly twelve minutes, drifting along effortlessly, almost seeming like an improvisation, punctuated by piano and strings, wrapping itself around the listener like a warm blanket on a starlit vista. The entire album runs with emotion, beauty and mysticism, one will find plenty of the introspective moodscapes that Greinke has come to be known for. -Peter Thelen

  3. Reviews Editor

    From Darkroom Magazine
    It is certainly no coincidence that the doyens of environmental and electro-acoustic experiments of the highest lineage, from Roach to Wøllo, passing through Serries, Metcalf, Seelig, Stearns etc., all end up meeting under the hat of Sam Rosenthal’s celebrated Projekt. Jeff Greinke was missing, who arrives with the new album at the court of the Portland label after four decades of recording activity and an important career that has seen him create music for films, theater and dance performances, art installations and so on . With A Thousand Year Flood, published in 300 copies of the essential digipack, the American composer sets aside the ambient experiments of the previous Noctilucent (self-produced in download) to return to the chamber-ambient electroacoustic intertwining of the last period, reuniting for the occasion with the violinist / violist / cellist Heather Bentley, with whom he had recorded the album Other Weather in 2021.

    The experienced artist from Seattle, now based in Tucson, therefore returns to doing what he is a master at, interweaving piano notes (almost always crossed by a veil of sadness) and environmental reflections – often with naturalistic tones – with Bentley’s strings, now fully at ease improvising in such a context. The framework, always absolutely minimal in the skilful dosage of the elements, offers a wide range of nuances, sometimes given by the insertion of a very subtle drumming (“Unseen”, the rarefied and refined “Losing Time”, “Upon A River That Still Flows”). The pathos flows from top to bottom, in the most dramatic moments as between the plays of light in the making of the title-track, up to the bright and positivist ending of “Making Way”, in a work that, in its short time, underlines how much authentic passion certain deans and pioneers of these sonorities – just like Jeff and those mentioned at the beginning – are still able to pour into their work, within an experimentation that knows no end. -Roberto Alessandro Filippozzi

    Original Italian:
    Non è certo un caso che i decani delle sperimentazioni ambientali ed elettroacustiche di più alto lignaggio, da Roach a Wøllo, passando per Serries, Metcalf, Seelig, Stearns etc., finiscano per ritrovarsi tutti sotto il cappello della celebrata Projekt di Sam Rosenthal. Mancava all’appello Jeff Greinke, che approda col nuovo album alla corte della label di Portland dopo ben quattro decadi di attività discografica ed una importante carriera che lo ha visto realizzare musiche per film, spettacoli teatrali e di danza, installazioni artistiche e quant’altro. Con A Thousand Year Flood, pubblicato nelle 300 copie dell’essenziale digipack, il compositore americano mette da parte le sperimentazioni ambient del precedente Noctilucent (autoprodotto in download) per tornare all’intreccio elettroacustico cameristico-ambientale dell’ultimo periodo, ritrovando per l’occasione la violinista/violista/violoncellista Heather Bentley, con la quale aveva registrato l’album Other Weather nel 2021.

    Il navigato artista di Seattle, ora di stanza a Tucson, torna quindi a fare ciò in cui è maestro, intrecciando note di piano (quasi sempre attraversate da un velo di tristezza) e riflessi ambientali – non di rado dai toni naturalistici – con gli archi della Bentley, ormai pienamente a suo agio nell’improvvisare in siffatto contesto. Il quadro, sempre assolutamente minimale nel sapiente dosaggio degli elementi, offre un’ampia gamma di sfumature, date talvolta dall’innesto di un sottilissimo drumming (“Unseen”, la rarefatta e raffinata “Losing Time”, “Upon A River That Still Flows”). Il pathos scorre da cima a fondo, nei momenti più drammatici come fra i giochi di luce in divenire della title-track, sino al finale luminoso e positivista di “Making Way”, in un lavoro che, nella sua ora scarsa di durata, sottolinea quanta autentica passione certi decani e pionieri di queste sonorità – proprio come Jeff e quelli citati in apertura – siano ancora in grado di riversare nel proprio lavoro, in seno ad una sperimentazione che non conosce fine. -Roberto Alessandro Filippozzi

  4. Reviews Editor

    From Ambient Blog
    Recommended
    Actively releasing music since the early 80s, Jeff Greinke has created his very own sound: rich in texture, depth, mood, and subtle detail.
    “Jeff sculpts sound worlds that conjure a strong sense of place, hovering somewhere between the exotic and the familiar.”
    He is often labeled as an ‘ambient’ musician and composer, but his work is not strictly electronic and encompasses much more than ‘just’ ambient music. His latest release A Thousand Year Flood is a great example of the music that can perhaps be best described as ‘impressionistic ambient chamber music’.

    The album presents a perfect blend of ambient soundscapes and contemporary classical music. References can be made to composers like Olafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm Jóhann Jóhannsson, or Max Richter, although the compositions are somewhat more ‘abstract’ than that of said composers.

    A Thousand Year Flood is created in close collaboration with cellist/violist Heather Bentley.
    Greinke: “Whether working with scored parts, improvising under my direction, or freely exploring her own ideas over my sketched-out sections, Heather’s thoughtful expressions fit seamlessly within my own”. At the same time, Greinke himself focused on ‘utilizing less sonic material, paring back the amount of instrumental layering’. The combination of this resulted in a powerful intimacy that can almost be felt.

    A Thousand Year Flood is available on CD but also as a name-your-price(!) download.

  5. Reviews Editor

    From Dave Aftandilian via Bandcamp:

    I have been transfixed by Jeff Greinke’s moody gray-sky keyboards for decades, so it’s a real treat to hear him return to Projekt. In his music I feel the ebb and flow of deep emotions drifting just beneath the surface like briny ocean waves surging in one’s heart. Heather Bentley’s lovely cello adds warmth and texture: sunlight bathing the surface of these deep waters. Chamber music ambience for melancholy wide-eyed explorers of inner and outer weather.

  6. Reviews Editor

    From Star’s End

    Jeff Greinke continues his intense creative ferment on A Thousand Year Flood (57’56”). After decades devoted to refining his craft these eight interactions between form and tone seem perfectly effortless. Each piece proceeds like a somnambular dance, with Greinke, along with cellist Heather Bentley and clarinetist James DeJoi, conjuring landscapes, worlds and realms that exist only for the few precious moments each piece endures. Flickering briefly alive to share their private melody, moody texture and shadowy thoughts, chords play and try to progress toward a resolution, but become lost – floating back to the forefront again and again. Unhurried notes emerge out of a soft aura of reverberation, to disappear with dreamy deliberation. This Ambient Music builds and shapes, breathes and sighs, blooms and sleeps, then detours into unexpected zones, tones, textures and states – leaving behind nothing more than a mysterious human trace. The relentless drive to make sense of our condition is palpable throughout A Thousand Year Flood. From the vaporous, melodious piano, synths and strings, to the sonic shapes at the edge of perception, it reduces geometries while transforming the phenomenon of sound into another, finer reality. Providing a different temperature of cool, this music is about a feeling, an expression – and the enigmatic substance of which we are all made. -Chuck Van Zyl, March 30, 2023

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