BIO OF SORTS…!
So, perhaps I could fabricate some romantic story about some ‘KID’ who turns to music during their early teens in an effort to save ‘HIM OR HER’ from the boredom of small town New Zealand. A couple of albums later ‘HE OR SHE’ packs their bags and moves to capital city, chasing the dream, etc etc… add three or four years, another couple of albums and the ‘HERO OR HEROINE’ is found touring the world on a shoestring with three companions, juggling records, releases and reveling in some form of underground success. Where to from here…?
Hailing from the murky swamp of Palmerston North, Grayson Gilmour began his solo recordings at age 16 with the release of ‘Abstract Arrival’ (2002). Originally treated as a side project to his then current bands / outfits, this first release received such positive response that Gilmour was convinced to record a second album. After moving to Wellington, ‘Behind Locked Doors’ (2003/4) was recorded in late 2003, but released in 2004 at age 18 after spending some time playing lobby piano in Japanese hotels. The album generated interest on a national scale, with reviews in various publications and bnet airplay, yet the identity of the ‘bedroom / studio recluse’ was largely unknown; having played all instruments on his albums, Gilmour had no band, nor had he played one live show! This changed in late 2004 when, in preparation for his next album, Gilmour played his first nerve-wracking solo set at Happy in Wellington. Recording sessions began early 2005 for ‘Phantom Limbs’ and was released in April of that year. The album was well received so well that Grayson had to say goodbye to his signature self assembled, burnt CD-Rs and have the album re-mastered and pressed. Close on the heels of the ‘Phantom Limbs’ re-release was ‘You Sleep, We Creep’ (2006/7) an album that reflected the end of Graysons compositional and electro-acoustic studies with its textures, arrangements and electronic interludes. ‘You Sleep, We Creep’ spread far and wide around the world, winning over ears alongside the seemingly endless touring schedule of his band ‘So So Modern’. During a break in early 2008, as a reaction to the complexities of ‘You Sleep, We Creep’ and the new-found nomadic touring lifestyle, Grayson turned acoustic to record and release a collection of songs from ’02-’08 titled as the ‘Chapters’ EP.
In no more than a week after the release of ‘Chapters’ Grayson left the country for a third time to tour with SSM. Alongside a three month European festival tour Graysons songwriting remained a constant, and it was on the road that many of his next collection of songs was formed. Returning back to New Zealand in late 2008 the then titled album ‘Oh! Stasis’ was demo’d and gradually found its way into the studio by May 2009, come July the album would be finished and titled ‘No Constellation’.
However, the album would not be heard until May 2010… enter, FLYING NUN RECORDS! Over a period of many months the secret of the soon to be revived label was kept quiet, and its first new release even quieter. Haphazardly leaked or ‘reported’ by the Dominion Post in late April, the word was out and the album was soon to follow…
…having released & toured ‘No Constellation’ to welcoming reviews, Grayson is currently working on his next collection of songs alongside numerous other projects!
An archive of reviews, singing praises etc… how boring! ENJOY!
NO CONSTELLATION (2010)
Who else writes tunes as achingly beautiful as these? Not many people around here, that’s for sure! …the vigorous repetitive figures underpinning many of his songs, with moments of explosive energy and gloriously stacked vocal harmonies feature a kind of melody which seems to have its own yearning, evoking an unspecified yet somehow deep-seated longing
THE SAMPLER / THE LISTENER – Nick Bollinger
…has a rare ability to recall events with such graphic detail, picking up different instruments to compose and depict life in its original environment. He makes places and characters come to life, breaking down the facade of modern pop music and presenting a more realistic approach to song writing that completely exposes itself to the listener. There’s so many rich layers formed through hours of immense concentration and dedication that it truly sparkles. It has been polished to the point where every instrument has a voice and it’s the type of record that reveals something new every time you listen to it.
EINSTEINMUSICJOURNAL.CO.NZ – Nick Fulton
Winding down a bendy, gravel-coated coastal road with Grayson Gilmour on his third release, talking about topical issues and listening to Elliott Smith and Sufjan Stevens might be a sort-of apt picture to paint in describing ‘Chapters’ . Though many sounds and influences have lent themselves to his latest exotic and shy, inward-looking escapade, it is rife with the kind of cultivated beauty that takes years to complete. With so many ideas on this impressively reigned-in six-track EP, Grayson may well surpass his heroes very soon.
CHEESEONTOAST.CO.NZ - Sarah Gooding
…Grayson Gilmour is a very talented lad indeed. It is, in a word, beautiful. Not only will this pick you up with its beauty alone, but it will leave you literally gagging for more.
THEKITCHENSINK.CO.NZ – Hannah Simon
YOU SLEEP, WE CREEP (2006/7)
It’s hard to reconcile the intense underground reclusive character Grayson Gilmour conjures within You Sleep, We Creep, with the flamboyant front man of So So Moderns live shows. It’s like as a solo artist he reveals a shadow alter ego, or his bands genius introverted little brother. Gilmour began his solo recordings at the tender age of sixteen in his hometown of Palmerston North and since then has migrated to Wellington and has expanded his output into a series of intelligent and unusual recordings. YSWC is a distinctly atmospheric piano driven recording, deep, moody, odd and sparse. High voiced sincerity fluctuates between quietly oozing tenderness to frenetically driven panting, as deepest emotion is urgently spilled and then sucked back into the musical vortex. The icing on the cake is the short a sweet tracks Creep 1-5 (which by the way aren’t creepy at all) and bar one are electronic based. Best of is number three which sounds like a thirty-second snippet of a little eighties kids space invader dream. A songwriter of the highest caliber with the musicianship to match, Gilmour’s creative outpourings deserve to embellish the ears of discerning listeners the length and breadth of the land.
JET MAGAZINE – The ‘Drifting Cowgirl’
Gilmour further cements his reputation as a major up and coming talent, not only writing all the songs but playing most of the instruments on You Sleep, We Creep but overseeing the production as well as string arrangement. Starting with the rumbling and rousing ‘Graveyard Shifts’, the mainly piano-driven songs bear some resemblance to the later work of doomed songwriter Elliott Smith and some bubbly electronics early on also bring to mind Thom Yorke’s solo work – although, thankfully without the gloom and angst of both of those artists. Brimming with the tricky time signatures that have become a hallmark of So So Modern but stripped of the over-the-top energy – with some introspective moments, like the beautiful ‘Waiting Room’. In this more subdued setting, It’s easy to see Gilmour’s music fitting in with the likes of Chicago’s loungey math-rockers The Sea & Cake et al. You Sleep, We Creep is stronger in production department than last year’s brilliant Phantom Limbs, thanks in part to the help of local studio legend Mike Gibson (TrinityRoots, Fur Patrol, Letterbox Lambs) – but take nothing away from Gilmour, this album’s strength is a credit to his prolific and quirky songwriting and arrangement skills.
Having been “most promising player” for the last couple of years, with You Sleep, We Creep and his band’s imminent debut looming, 2007 has surely got to be his year. Recommended.
SMOKECDS.COM – Unknown
This uber-talented young man from Wellington way has issued another solo album, You Sleep We Creep; though how he has time to come up with stimulating material of this calibre with all the So So Modern activity of the last 12 months is unclear. His ear for creative and compelling arrangements is on target as usual, and this is just one of many highlights on an album that overflows with great stuff. On another note, he kicked a bottle at me after the CSS show– and claimed he was picking a fight with me. I have no idea what he s thinking, as I’m a big fat guy and he isn’t.
84 TIGERS.COM – Troy Ferguson
It’s hard not to tread familiar territory when it comes to Grayson Gilmour. The fact that his output is both prodigious and growing rapidly in quantity has been well documented and one feels he could have had a hard time making You Sleep, We Creep given the positive response to his previous album Phantom Limbs. Whether or not this is the case, You Sleep, We Creed isn’t light years away from the intricate, piano driven crescendo’s of its predecessor. But Gilmour hasn’t rested on his laurels. His songwriting and flair for layered instrumentation has improved, which is a sign of his maturity. Each song sounds like it has been painstakingly pieced together, without any of it feeling laboured or unnecessary. While for me there are definite highlights on the album, such as the enveloping atmospherics of ‘Waiting Room’ and the at times manic ‘Battery Acid Ballad’, it is listening to it from start to finish that unveils just what an achievement You Sleep, We Creep is. Be prepared for praise to be heaped on this album, which is completely worthy of the accolades.
GROOVE GUIDE – Gareth Meade
NATIONAL RADIO – Nick Bollinger (AUDIO)
PHANTOM LIMBS (2005)
Probably the greatest ‘underground’ phenomenon in New Zealand at present… Gilmour’s intricately layered songs are a marvel of songwriting genius and musical inventiveness that makes it difficult to believe the entire album was written and performed by Gilmour alone. By turns intelligent, intense and intriguing, this is an album that belongs in the collections of good music lovers everywhere.
SMOKE CDS.COM – Unknown
A monumental listening experience that very much exists in its own space and time. Phantom Limbs is an alarmingly composed album for such a young talent. Intense and claustrophobic. It commands attention.
GROOVE GUIDE – James McIver
This singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist is the type of player, influenced by the vast stimuli of the modern world, that we should be promoting. Gilmour plays every sound on this album, every instrument and voice his… the songs moving from paranoid ditties to twisted cabaret jazz, post-modern retro rock and intricate new folk.
THE PACKAGE – Simon Sweetman
Such a unique turn on the New Zealand alternative scene is likely to be accepted sooner or later. Just wait and see, this guy should be huge.
CANTA – James Talbot
Phantom Limbs is a lush album with a plethora of manic emotion running around it in circles. Beautiful, poignant, intelligent and eloquent, Phantom Limbs will rip your heart out the minute you get into it.
TEARAWAY – Dorian Rue
Syncopated rhythms, piano that Thom Yorke would be proud of, angst-ridden vocals, and an atmosphere that slides between charged, frantic emotion to serene clarity. There is a depth here that makes you want to listen over and over again.
SALIENT / NZ MUSICIAN – Tessa Prebble
Grayson Gilmour is almost the perfect combination of musician and writer/inventor and appropriator. Should be huge.
REAL GROOVE – Adrian Osman
Phantom Limbs is at once both beautiful and furious – a delectable chaos. Full of playful inventiveness, frantic bursts of emotion and perfectly controlled melodies, this lad is jaw-dropping
RIP IT UP – Tom Chapman
Grayson Gilmour’s Phantom Limbs is an impressive achievement. He is both popsmith and rococo rocker. Intricate and detailed song structures with tricky melodies strung over odd time signatures, and sustained passages of real inspiration. This self-produced, totally independent album is better than what most bands manage on a record company budget in elaborately equipped studios. Too talented to remain an obscurity.
THE LISTENER / NATIONAL RADIO – Nick Bollinger
This third offering showcases his meticulous song-writing skill and musicianship, from the erethral vocals of the Shiver to the frenetic keys of Sympathy for the Simple… talent to burn.
MANUAL – Duncan Croft
BEHIND LOCKED DOORS (2003/4)
Music is the other teenage passion, and 18 year old Gilmour is nothing less than passionate on Behind Locked Doors. Very impressive. This would make a great soundtrack for those road trip nights. From the gentle pop of the title track to the guitar epic ‘The Long Ride’, Mrs Gilmour’s boy has a burning future.
REAL GROOVE – Brent Cardy
An intelligent songwriter who refrains from generic pop structured songs (verse, chorus and bridge), and heads towards intelligent, lyrically strong, structured songs. He creates interest with textures – layers of synths, twinkling keys, sweet Elliott Smith – like vocals and strong guitar lines. Behind Locked Doors should be in every record store in New Zealand.
CAPITAL TIMES – Janina Nicoll
Hard, heavy and wicked rock with a slight scent of metal… an artist with an ear for creativity, and not a Feelers album that cost (ahem) a million dollars to make.
PULP – Reuben Bonner
A startlingly good album, Behind Locked Doors is chock full of freshly unique fuzz-rock songs, lo-fi atmospherics and Gilmour’s introspective lyrics. With Haunting piano lines and reflective choruses.
RIP IT UP – Chris Schulz