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Barry Cleveland: Beyond Convention

By Published: November 29, 2010
AAJ: Clearly, we are moving away from physical media both in terms of recordings and publishing. How is this affecting you in both of your career paths?

BC: That's a big question. In terms of Guitar Player, we are struggling to come to grips with the situation in the same way that all print publications are. One saving grace with Guitar Player is that the magazine has a substantial legacy dating back to 1967 that many readers feel a strong emotional bond with. The demographic also skews towards older readers, who like the tactile quality of a physical magazine. That's slowed the pace of decline, but it is no guarantee of indefinite financial viability.

For an artist at my level, illegal downloading is both a curse and a blessing. Hologramatron is currently available on dozens of pirate sites and I have no idea how many copies have been downloaded, or whether the people who downloaded them would have paid for my music if they weren't able to get it without compensating me. So, it is impossible to know what percentage of those downloads amount to free promotion, or simply represent lost income. I do know that artists I speak with at all levels have experienced reduced sales overall, however—in some cases to a devastating extent.

AAJ: Describe some of your forthcoming projects.

BC: I'm currently recording an experimental ambient album with bowhammer cymbalom player and instrument inventor Michael Masley, called The History of Light. I'm also still hoping to record with French guitarist and synthesist Richard Pinhas in 2011. I recently shared a bill with him here in the Bay Area and we discussed it again. Right now we are thinking it will be an album of "beautiful music." And MoonJune has suggested I go to Indonesia to record with a gamelan percussion orchestra for the label.

I've also started performing with a band that we are calling Hologramatron. There is an instrumental quartet version with Michael Manring, Celso Alberti, and Robert Powell, as well as a quintet with Amy X Neuburg. The quartet played ProgDay over the Labor Day weekend, which we hope will serve as a stepping stone to larger festival gigs. I'm also playing the occasional solo gig, most recently the Y2KX International Live Looping Festival in Santa Cruz, California. I'm extremely encouraged and excited by all the opportunities emerging and look forward to connecting with listeners across the world in the coming year.

Selected Discography

Barry Cleveland, Hologramatron (MoonJune, 2010)
Barry Cleveland, Volcano (Supersaturated, 2004)
Barry Cleveland, Memory & Imagination (Supersaturated, 2003)
Barry Cleveland, Voluntary Dreaming (Scarlet, 1990)
Barry Cleveland, Mythos (Audion, 1986)

Photo Credits

All Photos: Courtesy of Barry Cleveland
Barry Cleveland
Barry Cleveland
guitar, electric

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