Phases is an ambient chamber music album by the Denver based group Mountain Coast which bridges improvised music with electronic production. Mountain Coast is the musical evolution of a 15 year partnership between Dave Devine and Michael Bailey. The process of improvisation, sonic manipulation, resampling and more improvisation has been refined during this time, yet, is in a state of constant development. Their debut recording, Watch Peak, was released in 2021. Phases features trumpeter Kenny Warren, also a Denver native but now based in Brooklyn, and draws on the 20 years of collective playing with Bailey and Devine.
Phases is a true pandemic record, recorded remotely, but in an organic way. Warren’s trumpet and Devine’s guitar tracks were processed with effects, samplers and modular synths by Bailey, in turn creating new layers to improvise over, offering fresh avenues to build transcendent soundscapes of texture and timbre that are at times warm and pastoral, other times eerie and disorienting. Minimalist phase loops and field recordings further add to the noir- like shadows and reflections of this spacious and sublime music, reminiscent of Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois and Steve Reich.
Hailed as “Denver’s Guitar Guru” by Westword magazine, Devine is known throughout the Denver jazz and rock scene for his virtuosity and his versatility as an artist. His sound is one of dense melodic layers, ambient washes, and lush sonic landscapes. He is a member of Invisible Bird with trumpeter Shane Endsley of Kneebody and drummer Scott Amendola of Nels Cline Singers. Devine has recorded and/or performed with Brian Blade & the Fellowship Band (Body and Shadow, Blue Note), Ron Miles, Matt Wilson and Ben Goldberg among others.
Bailey holds a BFA from The New School in saxophone but then turned his attention to modular synthesis and music production culminating in projects with Christopher Hoffman’s MULTIFARIAM and Color Meditation. He is also a member of the collective Set Of Lives.
Warren grew up in Denver where he was inspired at a young age by local trumpet great Ron Miles. In 2002 he moved to New York to study jazz at SUNY Purchase and quickly became an active member of the improvised music scene. He has performed with luminaries like Tony Malaby, Chris Speed and Brad Shepik and is a member of the Slavic Soul Party.
This is music made during the pandemic lockdown, by improvisers who could not be in the same room and interact with other players, so they did so one layer at a time. A trumpet track was sent,
processed and became the sub- bass line. Each sound is a full take, no edits, no click, no grid. An in- the-moment reaction to the newest layer of sound, to be processed and integrated in the overarching texture.