Relative newcomer and ace Chapman Stick player Tom Griesgraber has recently issued his first solo CD, the appropriately titled A Whisper in the Thunder. Largely comprising tracks that gently flow in dark aural streams of ambience against the controlled percussion of Jerry Marotta and Pat Mastelotto, A Whisper in the Thunder is a laid back but involving piece of music. I particularly like the use of Asian and African drums, which gives the CD a world music feel, most notably on the two part "Jungle": percussion such as Taos drums, timbales, talking drums and shakers really adds to the ambience of the piece and Griesgraber's application of Stick makes the whole work sound sort of like a Third World King Crimson.
As for myself, I hadn't realized just how diverse the Stick can be and on solo compositions like "El Prado" and "A Tiny Whispering Sound", Griesgraber extracts sounds that emulate harpsichords, clavinets and acoustic guitar. The deathly quiet and sinister "The Frozen Ocean" segues into the nine minute epic "Victor's Chase". Featuring a guest appearance by California Guitar Trio and some excellent Stick-synth courtesy of Griesgraber, "Victor's Chase" is mainly improvisational and despite its length never feels self indulgent.
Though I am no expert on what constitutes good or bad Stick music, I recognize talent when I hear it and Tom Griesgraber has it in spades. It will be interesting to see where his muse leads him in the future. Hopefully, the whisper in the thunder will become a kraken in the maelstrom next time; however for mellow listening, A Whisper in the Thunder is a very solid effort.
- Ahab (4:41)
- El Prado (5:40)
- 77 Times (5:39)
- Jungle (pt 1) (5:10)
- Jungle (pt 2) (6:14)
- The Frozen Ocean (4:23)
- Victor's Chase (9:14)
- A Tiny Whispering Sound (2:30)
- Waking the Day (4:30)