David Grubbs


David Grubbs

On May 13 David Grubbs released his new solo album, Prismrose, on LP, CD, and digital download. It’s his first solo album since the 2013 The Plain Where the Palace Stood.

Prismrose is a nearly wordless collection of six pieces for electric guitar, all given real time to breathe, grow unpredictably, mutate. It’s an album—an of-a-piece, start-to-finish listen—that documents what an electric guitar sounds like in David Grubbs’s hands now that we’ve stumbled into the year 2016. Prismrose comes to us—comes at us—from a stellar run of expansive, hands-thinking hands-puzzling guitar music that began with the stylistic pivot of Grubbs’s solo records An Optimist Notes the Dusk and The Plain Where the Palace Stood (do we have a trilogy brewing?) and the two recent albums from the trio Belfi / Grubbs / Pilia.

Prismrose begins with “How to Hear What’s Less than Meets the Ear,” an eleven-minute duo written in 2015 for the late Tony Conrad’s 75th birthday bash with Grubbs on chiming, tolling Telecaster and wunderkind percussionist and composer Eli Keszler on backwards-somersaulting drums. Keszler makes his presence known on three of the album’s tracks. The years reel with an errand into the 14th century for “Cheery Eh,” an arrangement of Guillaume de Machaut, and a brief stop in the 19th century with a setting of Walt Whitman’s “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer”—there are your words, unimpeachable ones—by Rick Moody, originally recorded by the Wingdale Community Singers. Side two is unambiguously set in the present moment, and this suite of three instrumentals sails off the edge of the world with the breezy, eminently whistleable anthem “The Bonsai Waterfall.”

And dig that instantly iconic cover courtesy of artist Kai Althoff (Workshop, Fanal). Roll on, wordless, nearly so.


David Grubbs Creep Mission

Creep Mission
The Bonapartes of Baltimore
Jack Dracula in a Bar
Return of the Creep
The C in Certain

David Grubbs Primrose

How to Hear What's Less than Meets the Ear
Cheery Eh
Learned Astronomer
Manifesto in Clear Language
Nightfall in the Covered Cage
The Bonsai Waterfall

David Grubbs The Plain Where The Palace Stood

The Plain Where the Palace Stood
I Started to Live When My Barber Died
Ornamental Hermit
First Salutation
The Hesitation Waltz
A View of the Mesa
Fugitive Colors
Third Salutation

David Grubbs An Optimist Notes The Dusk

Gethsemani Night
An Optimist Declines
Holy Fool Music
Storm Sequence
Eyeglasses of Kentucky
The Not-So-Distant

David Grubbs A Guess At The Riddle

Knight Errant
A Cold Apple
Wave Generators
Magnificence as Such
The Neophyte
Rosie Ruiz
You'll Never Tame Me
Your Neck in the Woods
One Way Out of the Maze
Hurricane Season
Coda (Breathing)

David Grubbs Rickets & Scurvy

Don't Think
A Dream to Help Me Sleep
The Nearer By and By
I Did No Such Roaming
Pinned to the Spot
Kentucky Karaoke

David Grubbs The Spectrum Between

Seagull and Eagull
Stanwell Perpetual
A Shiver in the Timber
Show Me Who to Love
Pink Rambler
Two Shades of Green

David Grubbs The Thicket

The Thicket
Two Shades of Blue
Fool Summons Train
Orange Disaster
Amleth's Gambit
40 Words on "Worship"
Swami Vivekananda Way
Buried in the Wall
On "Worship"