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GRICER - Gricer (Taut Recordings)
Gricer - slang for an individual with specialist knowledge - are a loose UK collective revolving around multi-instrumentalist and composer David Maleed. Occupying a no-man’s land between post-rock and the new young jazz thing, it’s not surprising that the album moves from the opener Slow - the aching walk of a horn through an isolated landscape a la Miles Davis’s Ascenseur Pour L’Echafaud - swiftly on to the metronomic Staccato, like Reich wound by clockwork with a drowning bass swirling down a plughole.  Some guitar licks here are straight out of Zoot Horn Rollo’s secret volume of unrepeatable motifs from Beefheart’s Lick My Decals Off, Baby, as in Peon and Japan In A Dishpan.  Others bounce between Sonny Sharrock and Steve Albini, although the riffs have a peculiar tendency to tease or painfully clutch without ever fully emerging into the live mix, as on the unbearably tense Folk.  Tiles throws an improv party halfway along, forcing me to check the auto-changer for a malfunction.
    Although most of the album is recorded live (in the studio), Semiconductor Archive or Longtone samples environmental sounds from the Thames in north Greenwich’s industrial area and works them around an A-flat electronic tone, the instrumentation overdubbed separately into layers of pure sound.

Steve Barker, The Wire
April 2006

GRICER - Gricer (Taut Recordings)
Between the lines of a music staff are spaces—gaps wherein bubbles and stems are scribbled to signify a beat, a breath, a melody. Potential lurks in the spaces, and when a band is determined to keep room available, to let the listeners’ world fill in the music in the vacancies, well, it’s something to write about. Gricer’s LP was recorded in November 2005 in London, and to achieve the sound they were after, microphones were strategically placed around the room to pick up not only the dexterous musicianship of Gricer’s five members playing ‘live’ in-studio, but also the hush of the atmosphere surrounding their trumpet trills and cello interludes. This album of non-hits plays like jazz for people who might also like punk; during second track Staccato, when the bass goofs around with the cello and some sticks and electric sounds keep a beat, it’s as if Gricer are playing us their version of a no nonsense orchestral-jazz movement clocking in at 2:16. The other 11 tracks teem with the same vibrant ‘music now’ energy, but each sounds a new instrumental idea with unique timbre and rhythm. It’s minimalism done interestingly, recommended for listeners who would appreciate a soundtrack to half-listen to while surrounding voices, thoughts, and everyday thuds enliven what the stereo’s pumping.

Kristen Grayewski, Punk Planet
November/December 2006

GRICER - Gricer (Taut Recordings)
Cool, atmospheric and skilfully crafted exploratory post rock from London's Gricer. A much-needed arrival of homegrown talent, Gricer have made an album of quiet confidence, rich with neat little motifs, spacious and city-moody in the manner of Bark Psychosis whilst sonically closer to Trans Am and Tortoise: instrumental, jazz leaning rock, lots of space, warm minimalism.
    Talking of Tortoise, it's easy for your attention to drift with them, Gricer are strangely compelling, and prepared to rock a little more. They keep a nice tension going whilst apparently doing very little, a soundtrack for a day when something momentous may be about to happen. Listening to Gricer whilst going to the shops makes buying milk and a paper an act fraught with plot implications. Twelve elegant, self-contained pieces, varying moods (from the Rothko-like introspection of Beware Of Death to the pensive, wry groove of Staccato, the short and delightfully rhythmically complex Skin and Bone to the cheerfully upbeat Tonic) making a well-rounded whole.
    Perhaps Gricer's greatest strength is the way the music never quite falls into pure repetition, never settling down into complacent riffage just because it sounded good the first time, always a subtle change applied. This is an album that's going to withstand a lot of listens, and make Gricer a lot of friends.

The Organ Magazine, album of the week
November 2005

GRICER - Gricer (Taut Recordings)
Listening to Gricer's arresting debut album, conceived in the main by British guitarist David Maleed, it's easy to be reminded of Steve Reich's "Electric Guitar Phase," from Triple Quartet, Music For A Large Ensemble, Electric Guitar Phase (Nonesuch, '01). Like Reich's piece—a snarling assault of near-inchoate power chords and edgy cross-rhythms—much of Maleed's music is built on low-slung riffs, off-centre beats, and minimalist repetition. And listening in turn to Reich's work, it's easy to be reminded of Muddy Waters' Chicago psycho blues album Electric Mud.
    Like Reich before him, Maleed has moved beyond one possible inspiration to create something original and compelling. On the three tracks most vividly reminiscent of Reich’s composition—“Trumpet," showcasing trumpeter Jay Phelps, "Folk," and "Land," an uninterrupted triple bill checking in at just under fifteen minutes—he tempers Reich's suspense-laden monolith with the well-judged use of space, melodic interest, and harmonic resolution (less so perhaps on "Trumpet," a roughhouse with flavours of Miles Davis' intense mid-'70s electric thrashes, contemporaneous Jimmy Page, and even a little John Cale).
    Elsewhere Gricer moves convincingly into free collective improvisation (“Tiles"), pure sound ("Semiconductor Archive Or Longtone"), elegiac balladry ("Slow," another piece memorably featuring Phelps), and, briefly, even relative sunlight (the upbeat and aptly named "Tonic.")
    Likely to appeal most strongly to modern minimalists, Gricer will also ring the bell of those who enjoy contemporary US jazz-infused avant rock and funk. It lacks the baroque expansiveness of either Critters Buggin’s Stampede or Benevento/Russo’s Best Reason To Buy The Sun, but has enough rough edges to sit cockily enough beside them.

Chris May, All About Jazz, 4/5 stars
January 2006

GRICER - Gricer (Taut Recordings)
Guitarist David Maleed is at the centre of events throughout most of this release.  He worries away at small musical shapes, teasing them out like a cat worrying at a spider.  When there’s no play left in the thing, the piece ends.  His approach is a little reminiscent of Tortoise’s Jeff Parker, except that Maleed’s style is much rawer, influenced by rock rather than the carefully swung enunciation of traditional jazz guitarists.  First track, Slow, is sparse and moody, building to a minor climax before receding into a humming silence.  Staccato is another minimal piece that centres around an alternating bass and guitar figure.  It seems almost to be marking time, waiting for something that doesn’t ultimately happen.  That description may be said to summarise the majority of Gricer’s 12 tracks: a sense of pensive, brooding expectation that hovers over slowly unfolding forms.  The sombre mood distantly recalls that of Bill Laswell’s Baselines.  A promising debut.

Colin Buttimer, Jazzwise
February 2006


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Update: 2021

Staccato was broadcast on BBC
Radio 3’s Late Junction, on 16
February 2016. The Weight of the
Well-Known Name
was broadcast
on BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction, on 18 February 2016.

Slow was broadcast on BBC 6 Music’s Freakier Zone, on 1 March 2015. Folk was broadcast on BBC 6 Music’s Freak Zone, on 24 May 2015.

Gricer is available in the US through Squidco.

Land appeared on The Wire Tapper 15 compilation CD, included with the June 2006 issue of The Wire.

Gricer is currently working on new ideas for its second release.

Helen Maleed (1967-2010)