VIEW (2003)

 


Long known as a uniquely talented yet tasteful hired gun bassist for the more adventurous rock guitarists of recent times (Mike Keneally, Steve Vai, Dweezil Zappa, Wayne Kramer), Bryan Beller ventures out on his own with his debut solo album, View

Those familiar with his main body of work – nine years, five albums and countless tours with former Frank Zappa guitarist Mike Keneally – are well aware of his ability to navigate the complex, sometimes impossibly dense forms and styles present in Keneally’s work…all with the polish, simplicity and accessibility one might expect from a pop bassline. Both a repeat feature subject and three-year columnist for Bass Player Magazine, Beller has long drawn the attention of music fans with a discriminating taste for high-caliber playing. 

But far from aspiring to bass heroism, Beller instead builds a carefully crafted emotional tapestry of interweaving themes and styles – a true album in the old-fashioned sense. Drawing on influences as disparate as John Scofield and Rage Against The Machine, Michael Landau and Pink Floyd, Nine Inch Nails and his mentor, Mike Keneally, the resulting body of work runs the gamut from hardcore jazz/rock to vocal pop to world beat while somehow staying thematically intact, all the while displaying equal parts density and sensitivity, melody and dissonance, tranquility and furious release. 

Musicians include guitarists Mike Keneally, Rick Musallam (Ben Taylor Band), Griff Peters and Yogi; drummers Toss Panos (Toy Matinee, Steve Vai) and Joe Travers (Dweezil Zappa, Lisa Loeb). 



“Just when you thought Beller couldn’t possibly be good at another thing, he releases a solo album so good it makes you wonder why he bothered doing anything else…View shows how terrific Beller is as a bassist, but it also establishes his real musical talent as a writer. It’s a thrill to witness an artist like Beller find his voice with such a self-assured debut.” – Bill Leigh, Bass Player Magazine 

“Seven Percent Grade shows that charging fingerstyle fusion is as comfortable for [Beller] as a fine rock riff…and both “Bite” and “See You Next Tuesday” show he can rock with the best….Inventive solo pieces such as “Elate” & “No” show that Beller isn’t going to fall into any clichés either. Inventive and creative, View end[s] up as a complete and compelling album, which I’m still enjoying right now.” – Adrian Ashton, Bass Guitar Magazine (U.K.) 

“Bryan is one of those bass players who just knows how to put the right note in the right place at the right time…monster playing and good vibes.” – Michael Manring (solo artist, Attention Deficit) 

“A unique blend of solid old school playing with modern sensibility and lots of edge.” – Andy West (Dixie Dregs) 

“Every expectation you may have about this album is going to be blown clear out of the water when you hear it. It’s really, really good, unique and intricate and ballsy and beautifully performed.” – Mike Keneally 

released October 28, 2003 


all music and lyrics written by Bryan Beller 
© 2003 Panorama Ataraxia Music BMI 
except 

*Backwoods 
music by John Patitucci 
© 1990 Universal MCA Music 

**Bite 
music by Wes Wehmiller 
lyrics by Colin Keenan 
© 1995 Maximum Music BMI 

produced by Bryan Beller 
recorded and mixed by Nick D’Virgilio 
additional engineering and key Pro Tools engineering by Ed Monsef 

tracked and mixed at 
Lawnmower Studio and Garden Supplies 
Pasadena, CA, April-June 2003 
key editing performed at 
Ear Kandy Studio, Toluca Lake, CA 
mastered by Jay Frigoletto at 
Mastersuite, Hollywood, CA 

art design and title concept by Katy Towell 

road photography by Wes Wehmiller 
cityscape photo in cover window by Stanley Leary 
© Georgia Tech Research Corporation/Georgia Institute of Technology
sound effects – Creative Sound Design/The Recordist.com 
documentation and cartage – Wayne Perez 
charts – Chris Opperman 
movie dialogue excerpts from “in the company of men” © 1998 Columbia/Tristar Studios 
additional sound effects – Wayne Perez and Ed Monsef of Team Burl Core, LLC (Respect Division) 

thanks and love to everyone who helped make this a reality and to all who provided support along the way 

(c) 2003 Onion Boy Records, All Rights Reserved

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2 days ago

Bryan Beller

BEHIND THE SCENES FROM THE FLOOD - “BUNKISTAN”: I made the album demos in sequence, and after the intensity of “The Flood” and finishing the first half of the album, I took a month-long break to freshen up my head. This was the first song back, and it flew out of me. I’m pretty sure the demo only took five days. And I remember after it was done, thinking for the first time, “I wonder if some of that isn’t good enough to keep?” Turns out I kept everything but the drums and percussion.

The guitars were all done fingerstyle, played as I would play a bass. The main and counter guitar melodies went down smoothly, and the keyboard layers quickly followed (god bless the Korg Kronos Rhodes and String Ensemble patches, they’re just gorgeous). I broke out the dark, vintage-y Mike Lull passive P/J 5 (alder body/rosewood fingerboard) and flew through the take, including the solo. And then for the guitar solo, I felt strangely liberated, and imagined myself as a cross between David Gilmour and “clean jazz guitar guy” capable of soloing in 9/4. I could hardly believe it was me when I played it back. You take these where you can get them. To top it off, I thought it would be cute to have drummer Ray Hearne (HAKEN) play against type and play a fairly simple trance-like groove throughout the whole thing.

But the real inside bit of “Bunkistan” isn’t really how I tracked it. It’s what it’s about. It’s a love song for touring musicians, specifically with a tour bus. What happens is that, after the show, everyone gets on the bus as it prepares to roll through the night. At some point, people retreat to their little bunk spaces for eventual sleep, and the smartphones come out. Some text their spouse, or their sweetheart, or maybe even their possible hookup in the next city.

Zoom in on one bunk, one particularly tender thread, and that’s the sound of this melody the first time around. Sweet somethings back and forth.

Zoom out again and imagine two people, in two different bunks, doing the same - that’s the second melody, with more accompaniment. The bass enters melodically, and the keyboards become lush. A third bunk starts their own thread as the second chorus begins.

The bus enters a long mountain tunnel - perhaps the Gotthard Tunnel in Switzerland - and the outside atmospheric noise changes. This is the breakdown and bass solo. The original thread is more exposed now, and yearning expressively, even earnestly. Missing someone.

The bus exits the tunnel, the guitar solo begins, and now everyone on the bus is texting. Sweet late night bits and bytes headed in different directions all over the globe. Hour after hour, text after text, kilometer after kilometer.

Eventually, dawn breaks, and one by one, the folks on the bus turn off their phones, and turn over to go to sleep. The music breaks down, bit by bit, and eventually stops. But the bus keeps rolling on, somewhere in Europe, into the early morning, and beyond.

“Bunkistan” is the album’s final nod to unqualified optimism. After this, it sets off on the long, inevitable march to its ultimate ending,
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3 days ago

Bryan Beller

Olomouc, Czech Republic. You are pretty and have great food and Pilsner Urquell. Thanks for being good! ... See MoreSee Less

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3 days ago

Bryan Beller

BEFORE THE MAYHEM BEGINS: A candid shot from an Aristocrats soundcheck. The chicken is keeping watch.

Heading for a day off in Olomouc, CZ before our show there. Thanks so much again to everyone in Bochnia and Warsaw Poland for two more amazing shows.
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4 days ago

Bryan Beller

GOING DUTCH: When it comes to supporting the progressive instrumental community, nobody does it like the Dutch music press. There are *five* reviews of “Scenes From The Flood” that I haven’t shared yet and they are ALL from The Netherlands. The picture on this post is from the recent issue of Gitarist (NL), and I’ll share links to the other four articles below.

Progwereld (NL), unsigned - www.progwereld.org/recensie/bryan-beller-scenes-from-the-flood/
RockPortaal.nl (NL), Hans Ravensbergen - www.rockportaal.nl/bryan-beller-scenes-from-the-flood
DPRP.nl (NL), Mark Hughes - www.dprp.nl/reviews/2019-074
Background.nl - Pedro Bekkers - www.backgroundmagazine.nl/CDreviews/BryanBellerScenesFromTheFlood.html

The Netherlands has always had a special place in my heart ever since my early career days in Hilversum and Groningen working with Mike Keneally, Steve Vai, Co de Kloet and the Metropol Orchestra. With the kind of care and attention the Dutch music community gives to expanded releases like “Scenes From The Flood” and other progressive artists, hopefully you can see why. 🙂

BB WEBSTORE LINK FOR CD, VINYL, & HI-RES DIGITAL VERSIONS OF
"SCENES FROM THE FLOOD":
bryanbeller.com/index.php/shop/

Thanks so much to everyone in The Netherlands for their great support, and I look forward to seeing you on January 18 and 19 when The Aristocrats come to De Boerderij in Zoetermeer!
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5 days ago

Bryan Beller

Thank you Vienna (this pic) and Kosice, Slovakia for two great shows! On to Poland for the next two nights...

The Aristocrats Guthrie Govan (Official) Marco Minnemann
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Such an amazing album. Between The Buried And Me's "The Great Misdirect" is one of the hidden influences of "Scenes From The Flood". It was subliminal even to me until I saw this and thought about the whole album again. It's just great. If you haven't checked it out, do so!

Tommy Rogers@tommybtbam

The Great Misdirect is 10 years old today! 🎉
Btw, @paulbtbam this guitar part still kicks my ass.
#btbam @btbamofficial @prsguitars

BEHIND THE SCENES FROM THE FLOOD: "BUNKISTAN" - a love song for musicians. Read the backstory here (top post): https://t.co/uinoIWbMhz

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