Robert Poss
SETTINGS - Music For Dance, Film, Fashion and Industry

Settings Front Cover Best known for his legendary guitar group Band Of Susans, Robert Poss continues to inspire with SETTINGS, a collection of music commissioned by choreographers Sally Gross, Alexandra Beller and Gerald Casel for three extraordinary modern dance companies, accompanied by other recent pieces for guitar, percussion and electronics. Its imaginative soundscapes represent a departure from Poss’ dense, wall-of-distortion guitar-and-electronic solo pieces and from the ecstatic Rock minimalism of Band Of Susans, yet threads of both are evident in this latest release.

ROBERT POSS has performed and recorded with Rhys Chatham, Nicolas Collins, Ben Neill, Phill Niblock, David Dramm, Susan Stenger and Bruce Gilbert. In 1986, he formed the wall-of-guitars group Band Of Susans, which Rolling Stone Magazine described as "adamantly arty, brainy, visceral and bracing." BOS released two EPs and five full-length CDs (all produced by Poss) before disbanding in 1995. In 2002 Poss, whom Steve Albini once called "an enormously underrated guitar theorist," released two companion solo CDs Distortion Is Truth and Crossing Casco Bay on Trace Elements Records. At the time, Tape Op Magazine described him as a “guitar genius, drone meister …the master of treated and manipulated guitars.” Since his 2002 releases, Poss has composed and performed music for choreographers Sally Gross, Alexandra Beller and Gerald Casel, has worked with ex-Band Of Susans member Susan Stenger on a 96-day musical installation for the Musée d’art Contemporain in Lyon, France, performed at the premier of composer Phill Niblock’s piece "Stosspeng" in Krems, Austria and contributed music to an Albert Maysles/Kristen Nutile documentary, Sally Gross: The Pleasure Of Stillness. In 2009 he performed with Rhys Chatham and Robert Longo at a Metropolitan Museum of Art retrospective and participated in Chatham’s Crimson Grail project for 200 guitars at Lincoln Center. He has also collaborated with Austrian visual artist Margret Wibmer and filmmaker Cat Tyc, and has written guitar-centric articles for The Leonardo Music Journal and The Tone Quest Report. He resides in New York City and continues to perform his guitar and electronics pieces in the U.S., the U.K. and Europe.

Trace Elements Records, 172 East 4th Street #11-D New York, NY 10009

Settings Back Cover

"Robert Poss rings bells just like he's playing guitar. The chimes ring out during the opening piece on Settings, but you only have to wait for the second track for those bells to run into thrumming strings. His abiding love for electric guitar is no casual dalliance or detached Platonic infatuation; it's an erotic commitment, an obsessive plunge into the instrument's metallic churn and enveloping drone. That's been the way at least since Poss formed Band Of Susans with Susan Stenger in 1986, when he was also performing with Rhys Chatham. That phase reverberates through the motoric churn of "With Music No. 2", a composition commissioned by choreographer Sally Gross. Pieces written for the dance companies of Alexandra Beller and Gerald Casel also feature here along with music for specific occasions, as the subtitle indicates. His use of percussion, piano and electronics, and the broadly Ambient feel of tracks such as "Inverness" or "Then I Realized," might suggest that Poss has changed as he has developed, but the six-­‐stringed and amplified core of his musical imagination remains the same whatever the actual sound source. He's certainly extending into other areas here -­‐ the hobbling honky-­‐tonk of "Border Piano Walk," the synthetic orchestral pomp of "Tourniquet Revisited" -­‐ but the concluding live solo, "Robert Palmer Tribute Coda," leaves no doubt at all that at heart Poss is still a guy in love with a guitar. Go Robert Go."

-Julian Cowley, Wire, December 2010

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Trace Elements Records, 172 East 4th Street #11-D, New York, NY 10009