Old School Prog Rock Through the Lens of Latter Day Dissonance

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 four 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.os Angeles’ the Mint, Santa Monica’s Temple Bar, Portland’s Mt. Tabor Theater, and Vancouver’s Sugar Refinery.

Using live loops and effects and over two-decades of acoustic saxophone  and bass clarinet experience, Cress has performed in numerous electronic incarnations.  He has performed solo since July ’05 focusing on simple, popular melodies (Mussorgsky, Ornette Coleman, Sleepy Time Gorrilla Museum,  Radiohead) in his own voice.  In 2009 Cress used top-shelf recording equipment in Yosemite’s back country to create ‘the View From Above’; a collection of short compositions woven together by sounds of nature.  In addition, Cress helps lead the Acá trio, an orignial ambient/experimental ensemble and Bulkleycress, an electro-acoustic duo that combines two intuitive improvisers who have worked together since March 2002.

Cress has recorded with and played with an eclectic array of notable musicians and artists over the years including the String Cheese Incident, Joanna Newsom, 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 Telepathy, Ah LaRocca, Bulkleycress, Blicker, Acá, Mercury Falls, and the Reset Quintet.

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.


Cress’ compositions will appear with Mercury Falls on San Francisco Label Porto Franco in 2010. Mercury Falls combines the  ambient/pop sounds of RF with the jazz/indie rock music of Patrick Cress and will perform a west coast tour in July.  Cress is currently creating  a 2010 version of ‘Yosemite Soundscapes’, called 

‘Run Off’ and will perfrom in Yosemite in August.