Label: Ubiquity Records
Genre: Sound Art
**Black Friday Record Store Day 2020 Edition** In downtown New York City, in 1979, painter Jean-Michel Basquiat and performance artist Michael Holman founded their industrial-sound band, Gray. Jean named the band after Gray's Anatomy (the human anatomy textbook), an important reference source for his paintings and the perfect name to capture the haunting, machine-like ambient music the band wrote and performed. In the Whitney Museum's catalog for Basquiat's 1991 Retrospective, Robert Farris Thompson, professor of Anthropology at Yale, wrote this about Gray: "They worked the Mudd Club, CBGB's, and Hurrah's in New York, where Blondie and the Talking Heads were at that time emerging. They performed, in other words, at the epicenter of New Wave. Here they contended for space and recognition with a style that, in Basquiat's own words, was 'incomplete, abrasive, and oddly beautiful.'" In an Interview magazine review (Jan. 1981) Glenn O'Brien wrote: "Gray became an industrial sound effects band. They played on scaffolds ... Lately, they've really developed their own groove... it's sort of an easy listening bebop industrial sound effects lounge ensemble." Besides Basquiat and Holman, other members of the original group were Nicholas Taylor, Justin Thyme and Vincent Gallo. Just after Jean-Michel Basquiat's passing in 1988, Holman, Taylor, Thyme and Gallo re-united as Gray and performed at Basquiat's Memorial at St. Peter's Lutheran Church in the Citicorp Building.
In 1996, the making of the MiraMax feature production Basquiat brought Gray's three original members (Holman, Taylor & Thyme) back together as they reenacted one of their legendary gigs at the Mudd Club with Tony Award-winning actor Jeffrey Wright playing Jean-Michel Basquiat. While reenacting their Mudd Club gig, the members of Gray realized that 1990's pop/ambient music sounded a lot like what Gray was doing in the past. Inspired by their own historic sound, the band decided to return to the studio to create and record new music. This "new" Gray sound evolved from industrial bebop to electronica with poetic vocals and groovy beats.
Michael Holman and Nicholas Taylor have now reunited once again to produce the first Gray album ever, titled, Shades Of... on their own label, Plush Safe Records, that harkens back to Gray's sonic roots -- industrial noise melded with electronic atmospheres. This multi-track compilation includes and involves sample tracks from Gray's earliest recordings and performances, with samples of Basquiat's music and voice. The other tracks range from Stockhausen-inspired fugues, to trip-hop lanced throw-downs. Holman & Taylor were fortunate to work with John Cale's drummer Dean Anthony on this new music, as well as fabled Tubes drummer, Prairie Prince and downtown scenester/drummer, Lenny Ferraro.
Gray’s “Shades Of... Anthology” is a reissue of the band’s previously limited self-released album, plus unreleased material and remixes from: Todd Rundgren, Hank Shocklee, King Britt, Sal P (Liquid Liquid), Deantoni Parks, Tewz, Free The Robots and The Gaslamp Killer with features from Amir Yaghmai and Kool Keith!