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, alto and baritone sax;  Michelle Amador – vocals;  Roger Riedlbauer, electric guitar;  Sam Bevan, upright & electric bass and drummer Tim Bulkley. The quartet brings years of experience in jazz, folk, pop, experimental, electronic and world music to create a sound that “floats in the interstices among jazz, rock, and classical music. Mercury Falls takes as a starting point the British prog-rock/jazz nexus of bands like King Crimson and the Soft Machine, and drags it along on a pub crawl of the 1980s Manhattan downtown music scene, sweeping in influences ranging from Steve Reich and Philip Glass to Television and Sonic Youth, and maybe even a touch of Morphine.” (J.R. Carroll – the Arts Fuse)

The Members of Mercury Falls:

Patrick Cress :: Reeds and 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.

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 ’09 a solo piece called “Yosemite Soundscapes”, gathering field recordings and setting them to his own compositions for alto sax and bass clarinet.

Patrick has recorded with and played with an eclectic array of notable musicians and artists over the years including the String Cheese Incident, Joanna Newsom, Joshua Redman, John Clayton, Lee Presson and the Nails, Nancy Ostrovsky, Scott Amendola, Joe Bagale, Boostamonte, Disappear Incompletely, Seth Augustus, John Shifflet, Michelle Amador, Tim Bulkley, and Aaron Novik. He has also lead or co-directed many ensembles in the Bay Area since 2002, including his own solo piece called “Yosemite Soundscapes”, Telepathy, Ah LaRocca, Bulkleycress, Blicker, Acá, Mercury Falls, Octagon, and the Reset Quintet.

Michelle Amador :: Vocals and Electronics

Michelle Amador is a Brooklyn-based singer and songwriter. Whether accompanying herself on rhodes or performing as a vocalist with a full band, Michelle consistently and sincerely reaches out to audiences with songs that are “simply bliss with heart.” (Pop Matters).

Michelle has been fortunate to have written and performed music that has been featured on NPR, Swiss Television, Gilles Peterson’s Weekly World 50, and radio stations worldwide. She is also grateful for collaborative opportunities to create music with Mercury Falls, Zed Bias, Goh Nakamura, Open Path Music, and Ear Worms’ sound and visual arts installations which have premiered at the Laumeiere Sculpture Garden and the Pasadena Museum of California Art.

Michelle looks forward to the live performance/recording with Mercury Falls on October 20, 2011. In November, Michelle will be recording of an EP of original songs, and will have her music featured as part of the staged reading and full production of Waking Up at the Imagined Life Theater in Los Angeles. She also has collaborative electronic single ‘Hope You Know’ out in the coming year with DJ Polar Pair.

Roger Riedlbauer :: Guitar and 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.

Sam Bevan :: bass

Since moving to San Francisco in 1999, Sam Bevan has established himself as one of the most versatile and creative bassists in the Bay Area. Bevan is able to canvas a large musical landscape where jazz, funk, r&b, folk and Afro-Cuban disciplines joyously intermingle. His sound is in response to the history of modern jazz, yet it’s his composer’s ear which informs his overall concept. Bevan explains, “Since I began my musical life as a pianist, including experiences composing and arranging for pop/rock, jazz and salsa bands, I have gained a much broader sense of the role of the bass. I am very content providing support and feel as a part of the rhythm section, as well as listening for appropriate moments to push the music into new territory. My goal is to introduce interpretations of the music which are interesting and creative without compromising the lead melodic instrument.”

Tim Bulkley :: drums

Tim Bulkley has built his musical career on his intuitive musicianship, supportive flexibiliy & broad awareness of texture & color.  Starting on the violin, piano and voice as a kid & eventually moving to the drumset, Tim has been playing music almost his entire life.  Tim has recorded extensively & toured internationally with a wide variety of projects including The Invisible Cities, Michelle Amador, Boz Scaggs, Stanley Jordan, Dayna Stephens, Patrick Cress’ Telepathy, Anton Schwartz, Wil Blades and Anima Anonima. A native of the Bay Area, Tim currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.