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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12 hours ago

Bryan Beller

BEHIND THE SCENES FROM THE FLOOD - STEINER IN ELLIPSES: Every story needs conflict, and here we introduce a new element in the narrative, one that possesses extremely powerful energy. Benevolent? Malevolent? Both? Yet to be determined. But it’s going to have an impact either way. We’ve all encountered something like that, right?

To represent this sonically, I knew I wanted it to be (ahem) fast and furious. I also always wanted to wrote a true thrash/extreme metal tune. And I knew this was the conclusion of the first of four parts of the album, so it needed a grandeur in its climax. For me, this all pointed towards Devin Townsend/Dethklok world, and that’s when I realized I needed Gene Hoglan slaying everywhere in order to make this track’s brutal sprint to the end of Part 1 come to life.

Making the demo was a blast, except for the guitar solo. There was no way I could approximate the metal shredding it needed, and I believe in Complete Demos. So I called for…the soulful, funky stylings of Rick Musallam?! Somehow I just thought it would be fun to give him a whack at it. Sure enough, he came in and shredded it with a slightly bluesy edge (a bit of Hammett/Mustaine, perhaps), and the demo solo ended up being the album’s most unlikely keeper.

I also wanted the riffing to feel more “dangerous” and slightly loose as opposed to “modern/tight”. More 1986 thrash than 2018 djent. So I called…Mike Keneally? Yes! The riffs were actually quite difficult *mentally*, and the odd-time intro/outro was a bitch and a half, as was the ascending climb riff leading up to the ending (my nod to Strapping Young Lad’s “Shitstorm”). MK ate those tough runs for breakfast, and gave the track a whole different feel than “Awesome Metal Guitarist X” would have been able to provide.

Overall, even though “Steiner In Ellipses” was only 2:23 in duration, it was one of the hardest pieces of the album to bring into a finality that really worked. There are 17 mixes of the demo and 22 mixes of the final studio version. (No joke!) Mixing extreme metal has “rules” in order to avoid low frequency muddle problems generated by super fast kick drums and low-tuned guitars in unison with bass. “…And Justice For All” aside, there *are* real benefits to reducing low end and increasing compression in metal mixes. And yet, this song had to fit on an album where the low end was, in general, fat AF. Balancing the needs of the song with the needs of the album was something that Forrester Savell and I were working on right up until the very, very end. It was the second to last mix to come home - only “World Class” took longer.

Finally, the song - and Part 1 - ends with a nod to the coming Storm. A few people caught that. Did you?
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2 days ago

Bryan Beller

JANET FEDER SPEAKS: I’ve said plenty about her - now it’s time to hear from her in her own words. Let’s Rock catches up to guitarist/composer Janet Feder (author of “Angles & Exits”) in her first interview since the release of “Scenes From The Flood”. How did a classically trained (and degree'd) acoustic guitarist end up using roach clips, split rings and plastic “superballs” to create unique sounds on a baritone? Janet explains it all in this 30-minute interview. ... See MoreSee Less

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3 days ago

Bryan Beller

TWO BRAZILIAN GIRLS TALK PROG: I thought that might get your attention. I know I’ve posted a lot of interviews lately but this one is absolutely unique, thanks to the clever editing and the 65-SONG PROG PLAYLIST (in 16 minutes?!) curated by Lorena Coelho and Nina Goulart of Desordem Progressiva. Come for the lo-fi hipster fashion, stay for the Deep Prog Questions. And make sure to watch to the end to see how to debase yourself with a writing utensil after playing “Marry Fuck Kill” with Emerson Lake & Palmer. ... See MoreSee Less

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4 days ago

Bryan Beller

BEHIND THE SCENES FROM THE FLOOD - "A QUICKENING": As I set out to build "Scenes From The Flood", I really studied Pink Floyd's "The Wall" from a sequential standpoint, and how it flowed and why I thought it worked. Some of what kept it interesting for me were the (pardon the pun) numerous sudden scene changes. From the helicopter end of "Another Brick In The Wall Part One" to the thudding opening chord of "The Happiest Days of Our Lives"; the buzzing end fall of "Empty Spaces" into the funk groove of "Young Lust"; that sort of thing.

This is what inspired the thinking behind the two-minute "story time jump" that comprised SFTF's fourth track, "A Quickening". A couple of expositional elements have been established - an optimistic start, a query on reality - and now events happen quickly. More important than what those events are is the idea that they *can* happen quickly, more so than ever (insert value judgment on that here), thanks to...well, we're going to go meta here, but what platform are you reading this on?

Musically, I'd never before tried to do anything remotely "drum and bass"-y, so this was a plunge. The Korg Kronos' onboard drum loops and patterns provided a near limitless palette of chop-sy bit-sy grooves, and I just went for it. I looked for a better bass synth sound than the SWR Mo' Bass but I just couldn't find one, so I went with that...which gave it a bit of a Mike Keneally "Physics" vibe. It's an homage, right? After that, I just piled on the layers, and always knew that the purpose of this song was to jangle the nerves, move the story forward, and get to the blistering climactic song of Part One, "Steiner In Ellipses". The crazed double-time ending is another homage (non MK) - anyone able to ID it?

Speaking of Keneally, I ended up doing everything on this track except these two really high guitar arpeggios which my clubby bass fingers just could not make sound good. So Keneally was kind enough to cut those for me. As always, thank you MK!
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BEHIND THE SCENES FROM THE FLOOD: Here's a deep dive into the climactic song of Part 1, the extreme/thrash metal fireball that is "Steiner In Ellipses", featuring @GeneHoglan, @MikeKeneally & Rick Musallam. 22 mixes until it was final. 22! Read (top post): https://t.co/W0IOfDV3q6

JANET FEDER SPEAKS: I’ve said plenty about her - now it’s time to hear from her in her own words. Let’s Rock catches up to guitarist/composer @JanetFeder (author of “Angles & Exits”) in her first interview since the release of “Scenes From The Flood”. https://t.co/VpY1qqRqlt

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