Self Portrait

Self Portrait

A personal ambience
Grant Cutler
Grant Cutler
Chris Campbell
Michelle Kinney
Jacqueline Ultan
Sara Pajunen
Jef Sundquist
Michael Lewis
Aby Wolf
Catalog Number: 

Brooklyn, NY

Release Date: 
Feb 24, 2017
Liner Notes: 
1 CD
Grant Cutler: Self PortraitiTunes Artist's PageiTunes Album Page
Song TitleTimePrice
2.The Dream I Float Away06:04$0.99
3.Self Portrait03:56$0.99
4.Falling Asleep in the Streets07:18$0.99
5.Part 203:58$0.99
One Sheet: 

We tend to think of the past as what happened, the present as what’s happening right now and the future as what’s to come, but the truth is that we are constantly engaged in the work of refashioning and recontextualizing the past. For composer and musician Grant Cutler, that process is at the center of his work.

Self Portrait is Cutler’s third album for innova, following 2012 in 2011 and his collaboration with composer and producer Chris Campbell (Schooldays Over ) in 2013. As with those albums, the mechanism of composition is not effaced from the final work, but integral to it. Working with acclaimed musicians including Michael Lewis (Bon Iver, Andrew Bird, Gayngs), Aby Wolf, Sarah Pajunen, Michelle Kinney and Jacqueline Ultan (Jelloslave) and others, Cutler recorded artists improvising to delayed recordings of themselves, a kind of sonic déja vu where memory and experience blend together in an evolving present. Slowly evolving colors wash over the listener; as though placing a mic in front of a fresh Rothko.

In this way, this Self Portrait becomes a portrait not just of Cutler but of all the musicians involved, and even becomes an act of memoir, an active reimagining of the self. Weaving together the capsules of time created by the musicians, Cutler pulls the tangent together into a long, circling recollection. This allows the music to become landscape, story, and document all at once.

At first, the music here might sound spare, but repeated experiences with it peel back layers and reveal the beating human heart beneath it. Sound becomes a memory, cut up and rearranged in the retelling, then recorded again as a new memory, beginning the process over again.




"A melancholy undercurrent runs throughout Self Portrait, an indirect expression on Cutler's part of the sadness that attends experience as it slips from the present into the past, thereafter retrievable only through memory and imperfectly at that. Music is fundamentally about time, and Cutler's is no exception; in his case, however, time is even more integral to the project when it involves musicians responding in the present to themselves in the past, and ultimately seeing those responses turn into the past, too, when Cutler shapes them into new forms." [FULL ARTICLE]


"Self Portrait by Brooklyn composer and multimedia artist, Grant Cutler, is composed of artists improvising to recordings of themselves, the results heavy with loops, delays and textures. innova’s press release dresses this up as ‘an act of memoir, an active reimagining of the self’. I think that’s stretching a point: if that’s what these tracks are, they’re cosy, untroubled imaginings that rarely stray far from their original path. (Not what I see in my mirror, certainly.) Nevertheless, set that aside and Cutler and his musicians have made an attractive, not always predictable work of instrumental/electronic ambiance. Requires a sweet tooth, but I have one." - Tim Rutherford-Johnson

WYNC, New Sounds #3949 

Music, memory & machinery all come together in the work of Brooklyn-based sound artist, keyboard player, & composer Grant Cutler.  Cutler recorded artists improvising to delayed recordings of themselves, a kind of soundscape where memory and experience are blended together in an active reimagining of the self. LISTEN HERE


"There is a nexus in the highly creative community where you can tell the muso is doing more than noodling for the sake of an arts council. Cutler rounds up a bunch of like minded left leaners and has them recording with tape delays of themselves. The result here is loaded with the kind of sounds that separate the Reich from the rest. Easily classified as contemporary classical, Cutler takes it to the edge where the wheels roll off the track, but they don't here. An interesting sound excursion throughout." - Chris Spector


“...we’re kept on our toes by constant change and shifting...This is a fine album and one to have to hand when seeking to open up your own poetic inner spaces.” [FULL ARTICLE] - Dominy Clements



"...full of long tones that fade in and out, come and go, wrapped in a spacious ambience that encourages meditative listening." [FULL ARTICLE] - Jon Davis