A fresh crew is stirring things up in Portland! 4th Rail Productions, a newly-created music and art production and promotion company, is on a quest to further enhance the vibrant music community of Portland, Oregon. Rooted in the psychedelic counterculture, 4th Rail strives to promote emerging, dynamic artists who stimulate consciousness and push the boundaries of music and sound. Advances in visual and audio technology have allowed the boundaries of music and art to virtually disappear. One of the many phenomena resulting from these advances is the musical hybrid of live instrument improvisation that incorporates various elements of electronica. Quickly becoming a genre all its own, this new music form is the focus of 4th Rail Productions.

Initial power to the 4th Rail was supplied by Seattle’s Siamese, a three piece drum & bass ensemble whose June 15 show at the GoodFoot Lounge was a huge success! Featuring preeminent drummer Kevin Sawka, Siamese exemplifies the ability to reverse engineer dance music into a new form and sound. Sawkas’ virtuoso drumming - a sight to be seen - is quickly propelling him into the national spotlight. He has recently collaborated with many prominent artists including Wayne Horvitz (Zony Mash), Graham Haynes, Andy Summers (The Police), DJ Logic, Skerik, Michael Shrieve (Santana), Roy Hargrove, Robert Walters, Eric McFadden (P-Funk), Dave Palmer (Ponga) and Living Daylights. With Jeremy Lightfoot’s subsonic, modulating bass lines and Dave Z’s menacing keyboard effects, Siamese pushes the boundaries of electro-improv. Also appearing that evening were Portland’s own Gray Area and DJ Joel. Gray Area explores the downtempo regions of live electronica, drawing influences from Kruder and Dorfmeister, Air, Tortoise, Charlie Hunter and Pink Floyd. Founder Asher Fulero uses the keyboard to create rich, atmospheric textures while simultaneously grounding the music in a solid bass line. Along with new drummer Micah Kassell, Fulero lays a foundation for guitarist Joe Dagostino to create soaring musical soundscapes. DJ Joel steps into the Gray Area from time to time, furthering their unique sound with voice clips, electronic utterances and vinyl manipulation.

Zony Mash sustains the 4th Rail energy flow with a performance July 2 at the beautiful Fez Ballroom. Led by renowned avant-garde keyboardist Wayne Horvitz, Zony Mash contains a powerful lineup of talented musicians who mix elements of funk, jazz and avant-rock to create some of the freshest sounds out there. Zony Mash is celebrating the release of Live In Seattle, a CD that captures the feverish energy of their live performances. Their Portland show will kick-off a West coast tour that includes three separate sets at High Sierra Music Festival on the 4th of July weekend, as well as a special acoustic show at Yoshi’s in Oakland on July 8.

Netwerk: Electric rounds out the 4th Rail ignition with a performance July 13 at the GoodFoot Lounge. Netwerk: Electric’s jazz-fusion and space funk sound, which incorporates elements of trip-hop and jungle, makes them a quintessential band for the 4th Rail. Though still relatively young, the members of N:E have a wealth of musical experience and knowledge from which they draw upon. Guitarist Jason Concepcion attended the prestigious Berklee School of Music (along with members of The Slip) in the mid ‘90s before relocating to Santa Cruz. He and percussionist Kevin Dinoto have previously been recruited by Karl Denson for his Tiny Universe. Karl D also makes a guest appearance on N:E’s new CD Expression Sessions. The tight rhythm section of drummer Michael Jaramillo and bassist David “Sweets” Menez, along with the colorful sound of keyboardist Justin Fagnani-Bell, makes Netwerk: Electric a cohesive unit of sonic explorers. Also appearing that night will be Portland’s own Triclops Organ Trio. This three-headed monster is led by keyboardist Jeff Baxter, along with bassist/guitarist Scott Pemberton and drummer Joe Sanders. Triclops delivers driving, thick, funky grooves that keep Portland fans dancing at their weekly Goodfoot Lounge gigs.

4th Rail Productions is dedicated to furthering an environment in which artist and audience connect through a reciprocal exchange of sound and energy. This fusion creates a stronger, healthier and more vibrant community, which is 4th Rail's prime directive in bringing these great performers to Portland.

Enhance your energy source: tap into the 4th Rail!


[Published on: 6/11/02]

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