More often than not, music is played by a group of individuals who are “experts” for the likes of people like myself who passively sit and enjoy the performance. Tilted Axes, however, is all about participation. It calls itself a movement by a group of mobile electric guitarists, with the band itself consisting of a small number of key members known as the “Tilt Core” led by Patrick Grant. The core band regularly recruits guest guitarists and percussionists before playing in the most interesting of locations, which have included the street, museums, and theaters. In a way, this approach seems to be blurring the lines between performer and audience.
Another line it seems to be blurring is that of genre. That is to say, the New York, New York-based band is choosing not to stick to a limited genre in the album Music for Mobile Electric Guitars, which was released in July 2016. The one thing they all have in common is that they are all instrumental.
A fair number of tracks are rockers. The uptempo “Shapes 1” is a catchy, toe-tapping, energizing alternative rock-flavoured number while “Asciae Obliquiae (Anthem)” is a raucous and boisterous one. “Tilted Axes Theme” is almost theatrical in sound and could be featured on a soundtrack. “Theme Variation” is more intense and almost begging for vocals. The anthemic “Techno Tilt” is boisterous and rowdy at times, featuring frenetic chugging guitars that swell into a climax that delivers.
“Circulation in G Maybe” sounds almost like a group of guitarists are going through a meditational jamming session that borders on chaotic. “Pedal Swells” is also meditational but in a very different way; it is the auditory equivalent of a glass bead curtain bathed in sunlight casting twinkles all over a darkened room. The guitars in the ethereal and delicate “Harmonic Revolutions” sound almost like bells at times. The progressive rock “Polymetric Patterns” is something that one wouldn’t perhaps associate with meditation but because of the continuous, repetitive melody that seems to just go around and around, swelling only to scale back down, it comes off as meditational.
“Rivera Court” and “Tuanna Claonta” both feature Middle Eastern-sounding touches. The former is a soothing, calming, and inviting number that would make for great background music to a get-together. The latter is an energetic and catchy rock number made for dancing. The bluesy, raucous rock number “Beaubien Blues” is also very energetic and begs at times for lyrics. “Kneadle Variation” almost sounds like a naughty but talented child got their hands on a mixer and had fun distorting every single layer of the original track, giving it a psychedelic flavour and making it just a little weird.
The punk rock of “Corridor 84 + Krimson Coda” is catchy and energetic, relentlessly driving forward an intense melody; one expects a singer to start up at any point, but the track isn’t lacking because it’s instrumental. “Shapes 2” is a midtempo, 1990s alternative rock number, also relentless but gently so, as if asking a question and not accepting silence for an answer. “The Sound of Burning Chairs” is also punk rock-flavoured, a raucous, almost chaotic, and very energetic number that is a lot of fun to listen to.
In short, there is a little something for everyone on Music for Mobile Electric Guitars, making it worth a try. Tracks are available for streaming on Bandcamp. More information about the movement, those behind it, and those involved is available on the official website and the official Facebook page.