Gabriel Lawrence Inventions
It happens very rarely that a critic actually 'gets' what the artist is doing. The critique below is one such example and an exceptional literary description of 'The Gabriel Lawrence Inventions' CD, by Blair Cooke in 'The Depaulia Magazine', Friday, June 4, 1999. 'The Gabriel Lawrence Inventions' (Density Records) The authors of the liner notes call it 'Eclectic,' but that might not be the right word for'The Gabriel Lawrence Inventions'. 'Intensely imaginative' gives it more justice. Two guys from Chicago proper have just unleashed a disk of music that does so many different things it's nearly impossible to describe. (I mean in the most positive frame.) The songs on 'Inventions,' from Density Records of Darien, Ill., are comprised of a massive palette of colors, twists, dives and turns which will leave music lovers everywhere scratching their heads for a label to pin on this ambitious outing. The thing that will astound most ears upon the first listening is not that this music is so different, but that it's being performed by two people who only have a a piano and violin in their employ. For example, after the songs 'Salsette' and 'What to Play' finish spinning in your disk player, you'll swear that this is one very big band and not just two musicians with a studio pass. Edgar Gabriel and Greg Lawrence are the two artisans who have completed this all original study and have extensively combed through just about every musical precinct; classical, jazz, blues, heavy metal, it's all there. Both Gabriel and Lawrence have substantial musical epaulets; Mr. Gabriel just completed a Master's in Jazz Studies here at DePaul and Mr.Lawrence has studied composition and piano from Northwestern University to Boston and Washington D.C. Together they have inexplicably composed works that layers melodies, shifts rhythms, switches genres on a dime, and toys with themes like a cat with a ball of yarn. Somehow it makes perfect sense even though it's doing a billion things at one time. At once it can relax you or send you to the medicine cabinet begging for mercy. Take 'Celtic Demolition' for instance, which starts with a pretty, lilting theme-Ahhhhh, summer skies, amber waves of grain, no stress. But after a repeat, the number slings into a riotous restatement with violin spitting high octane runs and doing a wild dervish strut all over the scales, only to be sedated once again by the sunnier climes of the main theme-this time with a slight variation. Oh, but wait. You're not out of danger yet. You still have to sit through two more satanic rushes, which may just convince you that Lucifer is at the front door and wants your soul. 'Celtic demolition' (or the entire album for that matter) was not created in the traditional sense of songwriting. Gabriel and Lawrence took concepts and drew up improvisations around them and in the process have carved a fabulously unusual recording. This is also very idiomatically apparent on 'Into the Forest,' a bizarre but enticing track. The keyboard jumps impatiently with with an urgent staccato while evil, soaring violin lines do wicked tracers and linger in the subterfuge. If you think this 'forest' has green leaves and cute little birdies, guess again - this is where the wild things are. At the end of 'Forest' the reverb on the violin gets a shove - displaying haunted wailings with heavy metal edges. The duos' romantic gestures are handled with squared affinity, as well. From tracks one through 11, this is a very courageous effort and deserves a lot of attention.'