From: Emmett Chapman (stick@earthlink.net)
Subject: Exhibit A by Agent 22
Date: Thu, July 13, 2000
originally published to "StickWire" an online Chapman Stick discussion group


Tom Griesgraber's instrumental trio "Agent 22" has some strange musical chemistry, but the elements bond together to create a solid substance. It's just a simple, tight knit trio, transparent and polished from themes to improvs, but it also serves as an object lesson on how to form a Stick, guitar and drums band and provide all the essentials with minimum means.

Speaking of "bonding", I detect an intentional 007 flavor in the theme songs of their new album. Dark consequences loom around every turn of phrase and change of chord. This detective-like "boilerplate" motif is reflected in the CD's black tie and tails cover design and surreptitious liner notes.

The themes are forboding but with sly humor as in any James Bond movie, but there is also this irrepressible element of quicksilver fluidity in the improvs, where all instruments free themselves from thematic "bond-age" and let loose in their own sonic terrain.

First it's the coalescence of strings that caught my attention - those gorgeous high notes and arpeggiated runs on Jimmy Patton's dual tapped guitars, contrasting against Tom's solid Stick playing in the bass and cello contrapuntal registers. Lots o' strings, in all of the frequencies, as on the third cut "Dreamwalk", and on the sixth cut "Song for Eriela" where Jimmy styles his solo after Queen's guitarist Brian May.

This blend of clean strings is an integrated "orchestra" of sound, uncluttered and spare, and to this Tom adds a variety of MIDI'd Stick textures and distorted Stick lead lines.

Then there's a third element of concise percussive phrasing and clear-cut styling by drummer Ryan Moran. The result is an intelligent interplay of tones, textures, themes and improvs that make this debut CD a very promising "Exhibit A".

You can order this new CD, "Agent 22", through thossounds@aol.com or through us at Stick Enterprises, stick@earthlink.net

Best to All, Emmett.