Old School Prog Rock Through the Lens of Latter Day Dissonance

Mercury Falls exists in the endless space between dreaming and awareness, light and dark, thought and expression. The  band’s music moves in countless directions at the same time, but without confusion or cacophony. It’s quiet, but not ambient, it’s free, but not formless.  As Mercury Falls pull you deeper into their own singular world, musical phrases rise and fall and spin together without any obvious logic or resolution, inviting you to open your mind and drift into a comforting space where sound is the only reality.

Mercury Falls is Patrick Cress, sax and composition; Roger Riedlbauer, guitar, composition and electronics; Rob Ewing, electric bass; and drummer Aaron Kierbel. The quintet brings years of experience in jazz, folk, pop, experimental, electronic and world music to Quadrangle, an album with seven interconnected tracks that flow together like a suite. The music can suggest West Coast cool jazz, the sounds of a tropical forest, experiential indie rock and the dark, creaky rhythms of a passing carnival, but doesn’t really sound like anything you’ve heard before.

The Members of Mercury Falls:

Patrick Cress :: Saxophones, Electronics

Graduating with a bachelor’s in music at the University of Michigan in 1998, Patrick Cress was schooled by Donald Walden’s strict jazz theory and Donald Sinta’s brilliant musical mind.   It was there that he conceived the concept for Telepathy (baritone saxophone, bass clarinet, upright, drums), his brainchild, after heavy influences of Ornette Coleman and Tim Berne.  Founded in March 2002, Telepathy has recorded three albums, as well as performed both nationally and internationally. The group features some of the Bay Area’s finest musicians and has played for diverse audiences at San Francisco’s ODC Theater, Oakland’s Café Van Kleef, Berkeley’s Zipper Festival, L.A.’s the Mint, Santa Monica’s Temple Bar, Portland’s Mt. Tabor Theater, and Vancouver’s Sugar Refinery.

Cress has performed and composed with dance for over a decade.  He started by forming his own music and dance improvisation company, the Pax Ensemble, at the University of Michigan in 1998.  Since then, he has been music director for Dandelion Dancetheater’s Undressed Phase II and Octagon. In those experiences, and other cameos including Kunst-Stoff, Kara Davis’ Improv. Jam, and with Ledoh’s Salt Farm, Cress has performed or created scores to accompany a wide variety of choreography.

Using live loops and effects and two-decades of acoustic alto and baritone saxophone experience, Cress has performed in numerous electronic incarnations.  He has performed solo since July ’05 focusing on simple, popular melodies (by composers such as Mussorgsky, Ornette Coleman, Sleepy Time Gorrilla Museum,  Radiohead) and expands them in his own voice.  In addition, Cress helps lead the Acá trio, an orignial ambient, experimental ensemble.  He has also performed with Bulkleycress, an electro-acoustic duo that combines two intuitive improvisers who have worked together since March 2002.

Cress has played with an eclectic array of notable musicians and artists over the years including the String Cheese Incident, John Clayton, Nancy Ostrovsky, Scott Amendola, Boostamonte, Disappear Incompletely, John Shifflet, Tim Bulkley, and Aaron Novik. He has also lead or co-directed many ensembles in the Bay Area since 2002, including Telepathy, Ah LaRocca, Bulkleycress, Blicker, Acá, and Mercury Falls.

Roger Riedlbauer :: Guitar, Electronics

Roger Riedlbauer’s varied projects have gained him recognition as both a versatile and gifted guitarist. Studying improvisation and composition under Art Johnson and Rick Helzer at SDSU, he relocated to the Bay Area in 1997, where he began composing and performing as a freelance guitarist.

The ease with which Riedlbauer approaches his instrument, is such that can only be gained from years of experience. His technical mastery and diverse musical palette, allow him to shift effortlessly from delicate melodies to gritty heart-stopping noise. There may be a surplus of guitarists, but few share these rare qualities which have attracted musicians and audiences alike.

Riedlbauer has established himself as a vital member of the music scene, performing with Jolie Holland, Sean Hayes, the Halifax Pier, and Odessa Chen and collaborating with numerous filmmakers and visual artists for multi-media performances. Serving as lead guitarist for noir rock band Boxcar Saints and experimental jazz ensemble Transmission, Riedlbauer has recently expanded his range to include songwriter and singer for the band the Cannery, on Awful Bliss Records.

While he has toured extensively in both the U.S. and abroad, Riedlbauer has also made his mark as a recording artist. His catalog includes Last Things (Boxcar Saints), There Is Life In This Old Land (the Cannery), Hollow Sea (Transmission), and All is Fair (Gojogo).

Whether he is composing, performing, producing, or teaching, Riedlbauer brings his own unique voice and a level of excellence to all he accomplishes.

Rob Ewing :: Electric Bass

Rob Ewing is a trombonist, bassist and drummer from Oakland, California. Trained at Berklee College of Music and Naropa University, Rob has been performing primarily in the San Francisco Bay Area since the early 2000’s. Important collaborations over this period have included avantjazz quartet Married Couple; jazz fusion band Reorchestra; Rob’s own electrojazz Radiohead tribute band Disappear Incompletely (w/Kasey Knudsen, Patrick Cress, Steve Blum, Noah Phillips, Joe Bagale and Jamie Moore); the Marcus Shelby Orchestra; Graham Connah NoPorkestra; Oakland Active Orchestra; Cory Wright Outfit, Karl Evangelista’s Taglish; The Weiner Kids Family Band; Jacob Zimmerman’s Lawson; Aaron Bennett’s Electro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Orchestra; Jason Levis’s Joseph’s Bones; 4 modular and overlapping reggae bands Pavlov’s Band, Junior Reggae, Reggae on the Radio and Next Music; the Electric Squeezebox Orchestra; Brass Magic; Les Gawn Jupons; Britt Ciampa Hugs You; and Mercury Falls.

Aaron Kierbel :: Drums, Samples

Aaron Kierbel is a drummer, teaching artist and Rhythmallogist. He has toured the world many times over with the genre defying group “Rupa and the April Fishes,” and plays with many local artists including Jazz Mafia and the San Francisco Mime Troup. He teaches critical thinking skills and violence prevention to youth of all ages in the Bay Area using drumming, dancing and singing through organizations such as Destiny Arts, Performing Arts Workshop and Bread and Roses.