Tilted Axes is more than a band. It is a movement, literally, as it’s described by the group as “music for mobile electric guitars.”
A mobile electric guitar is a normal electric guitar, but played through one of those mini hip-mounted amps of the variety most famously worn by the turban wearing Venice guitar playing roller skater.
The band itself consists of a small group of key members known as the “Tilt Core” who are lead by the brainchild and primary composer of Tilted Axes, Patrick Grant.
When they play out they recruit guest guitarists and percussionists capable of improvisational jamming who are able to learn the songs ahead of time, and then when Grant and his core come to town, they get together and rehearse before their gig which may be on the street, in a museum, in a theater or even at a train station.
In a live Tilted Axes video from 2015, a group of sixteen musicians (two drummers, a few bass players and the rest all on guitar) plays the song Polymetric Patterns No. 10 in front of Detroit City’s Orchestra Hall. As they play passersby stop to gawk, bob their heads to the beat, dance on their way past and take photographs of the unique ensemble performance. And this doesn’t include the stranger walking by who decides to join in briefly on tin whistle.
As might be expected the music runs itself through many permutations. Influences range from the Indonesian Gamelan music Patrick Grant studied to vibrantly jagged rock n roll.
Grant’s song ‘Techno Tilt’, a raucous rocker off “Music for Mobile Guitars,” bristles in epic grandiosity, swelling into anthemic proportions, over which the mind may conjure a grueling training montage culminating in ultimate victory while, the track, ‘Pedal Swells’ seems to imagine what it would have been like if the No Wave scene had taken off in Indonesia rather than New York.
Grant didn’t emerge from a vacuum. His talent and virtuoso composing skills has brought him shoulder to shoulder working with musicians such as Billy Joel, John Cage, Quincy Adams and Robert Fripp of King Crimson. Tilted Axes is the type of music only gotten by filtering many disparate influences through one classically trained musician’s head.
In this way the compositions jump and skitter through many different forms and genres while offering a wonderfully seamless ride through it all.
It is a singular vision, for sure, but one to be shared and experienced and performed by many.
Get more on TiltCore at www.tiltedaxes.com