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Gavin Harrison’s ‘Cheating the Polygraph’, brand new solo album is OUT NOW

Gavin Harrison, drummer with British Prog innovators Porcupine Tree, currently working with King Crimson, and a musician whose playing and performing résumé includes stints with artists as varied as Iggy Pop, Lewis Taylor, Manfred Mann and Kevin Ayers, is to release a brand new solo album, entitled Cheating The Polygraph on Kscope on 14th April – USA & Canada / 17th April – Germany /22nd April – Japan .

Cheating The Polygraph is an ambitious project which sees the restlessly creative Harrison re-imagine eight songs from the acclaimed Porcupine Tree repertoire, in a set of vivid and vibrant new arrangements that give full, free rein to his enquiring musical mind. Harrison explains the approach thus: “I think every album needs a focus – a master plan – and whilst I thought about writing new tunes for a big band project – I made a version of PT’s Futile (with Laurence Cottle) and it came out really well. It felt like a good plan to follow on with some of my personal favourite PT songs and see if we could make them work. I had a vision that the arrangements would never lean towards a clichéd classic big band sound but always follow a modern contemporary angle. So even if you didn’t know the original tune you could still enjoy it as a modern composition that would work with this instrumentation. I couldn’t be happier with the results. Laurence Cottle’s immense talent as a musician and arranger was mind blowing.”

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The eight tracks which comprise the album were recorded over a five-year period, with Harrison working in conjunction with a crew of some of the finest contemporary musicians, including the gifted saxophonist Nigel Hitchcock and bass player Laurence Cottle. It’s a set that will no doubt excite much controversy; Harrison use of the ‘Big Band’ musical sound stage isn’t some ersatz attempt to make a ‘Swing’ album; it’s closer in execution and arrangement to the innovative works of Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention, a layered, richly-textured selection that is both beautifully-recorded and incisively delivered.

No respecter of arbitrary musical pigeonholing, Harrison doesn’t so much ignore genre confines as smash right through ‘em – Harrison states in his thoughtful liner notes: “It’s very important to me to push the boundaries of music whilst respecting what came before. In the arrangements of these pieces we really get ‘out there’ with some of the harmonies and rhythms, and we vastly extended the edges of the original compositions.” Harrison also drops little musical depth bombs throughout by interpolating shards of melody and musical themes from other Porcupine Tree songs seamlessly into the musical patina of Cheating The Polygraph, which serve to underscore his frontiersman spirit; this is some of the most enthralling, engaging and challenging music you’ll hear in 2015, but there is also wit and charm in abundance here, too.

Gav Lights 181114 09 1

Tracklist:
What Happens Now?
Sound Of Muzak/So Called Friend
The Start Of Something Beautiful
Heart Attack In A Layby/The Creator Had A Mastertape/Surfer
The Pills I’m Taking (from Anesthetize)
Hatesong/Halo
Cheating The Polygraph/Mother & Child Divided
Futile

 

Kscope Podcast 61 - A Gavin Harrison 'Cheating the Polygraph' special

Hatesong / Halo (directed by Lasse Hoile)

Q&A with Gavin and Laurence Cottle

'Hatesong / Halo (track by track)

Album Montage

Biography

Gavin Harrison is best known for playing with the British progressive rock band Porcupine Tree which he joined in 2002. As of 2008, he also plays with the band King Crimson. Harrison has authored two instructional drum books entitled Rhythmic Illusions and Rhythmic Perspectives. He also wrote and produced his own instructional DVDs, Rhythmic Visions and Rhythmic Horizons, at his home studio.

2010 saw the release of Rhythmic Designs, a book of transcriptions by Terry Branam, and a 3 hour DVD of Gavin’s explanations and demonstrations. It won ‘Best In Show’ at the summer NAMM show in the USA. In 2007 Gavin began a long term collaboration with singer/extended range bass player 05Ric which led to the release of three CDs, Drop (2007), Circles (2009) and The Man Who Sold Himself (2012). In 2008, Gavin joined King Crimson as part of a dual-drummer lineup with Pat Mastelotto. Gavin played a number of shows in the United States in August with the band.

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He won the Modern Drummer magazine readers’ poll for “best progressive drummer of the year” consecutively from 2007-2010. He won “Best Prog Drummer” in DRUM USA magazine 2011. He is the featured cover story on Modern Drummer January 2009. Rolling Stone Magazine polls rate him as the third best drummer in the past 25 years. On August 23, 2011 he was a featured performer on ‘The Late Show with David Letterman’ as part of their second “Drum Solo Week”, along with such players as Tony Royster, Jr., Stewart Copeland, and Dennis Chambers. His influences come from his father’s jazz collection and from drummers such as Steve Gadd and Jeff Porcaro. Kit Studies with Joe Hodson, Paul Brodie and Dave Cutler (Berklee ’78 graduate – teacher relating to the evolving Gary Chaffee school of rhythmic concepts).

 

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