Grails is a band most easily described as "restless". They've stubbornly pushed against the staid cliches of instrumental music and towards new sonic frontiers, creating heavily textured albums, stacked deep with epic song hooks and exotic instrumentation. Grails carry echoes of the classic bands of many genres, but they combine those various styles onto a single record, under one umbrella of musical freedom. They are the renowned stylistic globetrotters of a fanatical underground record collecting scene, able to hybridize their disparate musical heritage (from The Ventures to 'Tibetan Crime-Jazz') with grace and confidence to build new languages out of genres that were never intended to work together.
Beginning their life on Neurot recordings (The Burden of Hope, 2003, and Redlight, 2004), before moving to Important Records for 2006’s Black Tar Prophecies, Vol's 1,2,&3 - their new mission statement for a dark, reckless approach to experimentation and the beginning of a string of releases that would meet with escalating acclaim for their re-imagining of what instrumental music can be.
In 2007 they released Burning Off Impurities with the highly-respected Temporary Residence, quickly followed in 2008 with Take Refuge In Clean Living (Important Records), and Doomsdayer's Holiday.
Following the release of their most acclaimed album of their decade-long career, Deep Politics (2011), Grails revisited Black Tar Prophecies, their ever-expanding, enigmatic tapestry of eclectic experiments released in scarce limited editions that often disappear before most fans discover their existence. Black Tar Prophecies Vol's 4, 5 & 6 collects the last three volumes in the Black Tar series.
Six years later, they advance that sound with their most lush, expansive album of their career, Chalice Hymnal. Rather than pick up where they left off, Grails take the sky-high riff-based heaviness of their earlier albums and distill it into a nuanced, widescreen opus. The perennial influences of mid-20th century Western film scores, obscure library music, and psychedelic krautrock are indelibly imprinted, but Chalice Hymnal exudes an eerie patience in unfurling the many layers of its subtle details.
Produced by the band over the past five years, Chalice Hymnal bears some of the European psych and experimental hip-hop production techniques of founding members Alex Hall and Emil Amos' other group, Lilacs & Champagne. Amos' meditative metal band, Om, and longtime singer-songwriter project, Holy Sons, also naturally find their way into the Chalice cauldron.
Rounding out their leaner line-up, cofounder Zak Riles (also of experimental kraut-psych trio, Watter) layers synths and programming into an electronic-prog hybrid that pushes Grails further into the deep end, displaying a profound resonance, both musically and emotionally. No one else sounds like Grails, and on Chalice Hymnalthey sound more like themselves than ever before.
Majeure is the alter ego of A.E. Paterra, multi-tasking extraordinaire and one-half of progressive synth-rock duos Zombi, and Contact. Decidedly more dance-oriented than Zombi, Majeure combines the dark Moog-driven film scores of Vangelis with the relentless drive of Can and the transcendent minimalism of Steve Reich and Philip Glass. The brilliant mix of live and electronic rhythms is the heart and soul of Majeure's music, which has a funny way of making time either speed up or stop entirely.