Drama was an all original progressive rock band which were performed in concert style settings. The band eventually dissolved after a long and fruitless search for a lead vocalist. The time spent with Drama was very significant in Grantâ€™s development as a writer. He learned the concepts of themes and arranging, and how to develop his compositional ideas more thoroughly. Following the break up of Drama, Grant purchased some recording equipment and synthesizers. He recorded all the songs he had written with the group, as well as new material.
Concurrently, two former members of Drama had begun collaborating with a vocalist, and invited Grant to join this new group, which was called Nine. The material remained progressive, but was more commercially viable than the music of Drama. Over a period of two years, Nine developed several sets of original material, and played at a variety of venues in Vancouver. The group was selected to play in Spotlight 88, a major competition for Vancouver bands. Demo recordings were completed, and after some interest from a major label, it was decided that the material should be re-recorded. Unfortunately, the vocalist decided to leave the group at this time. Because of the bandâ€™s writing style, where individual members would write the music for songs and the singer would then write the lyrics and vocal melody, Nine was unable to survive this loss.
After the dissolution of Nine, Grant focused on music for film and video. He completed a Film Music Intensive at Simon Fraser University, and took on work composing music for corporate videos.
Throughout this time, Grant continued writing his own material. He completed an eleven track demo, titled House Of Mirrors, and then hired Andrew Duncan (Three Kings DBC, Burbank) to produce the album for independent release. Preproduction commenced, and thirteen other musicians were selected to play on the album. The tracks were recorded and mixed at Rain Forest Studios by Duncan, and then mastered by Craig Waddell at Gotham Studios.
House Of Mirrors, Grant's first CD, is a collection of "New Age" instrumental compositions. Because Grantâ€™s primary instrument is drums, the album has a unique flavour for this genre. Rhythm plays a very important part in the style of the album, where both electronic and acoustic drums and percussion interlace with a variety of different instruments and sounds. The instrumentation ranges from ethnic, including erhu, Chinese dulcimer, Asian flutes, electric and acoustic bazouki, African percussion, and dumbek, to more conventional, including keyboards, guitar, bass, drums, cello, and violin. Voice is also used as an instrument, with one track featuring a West African style vocal, and another featuring a traditional First Nations style vocal. The music invites the imagination to create its own visions, varying in emotion from being dark and moody to being positive and uplifting.
House Of Mirrors has received positive reviews and radio play across Canada, as well as into the United States and Europe. Warner Music Canada has the album on file for possible use on another Warner â€œEscapesâ€ New Age compilation album. Decisions are also pending with other companies. House Of Mirrors is in the music library of TMP - The Music Publisher in Toronto, Deva Anderson in Los Angeles (Music Supervisor-â€œThat Thing You Doâ€ among others), S.L. Feldman & Associates and Boxx Entertainment in Vancouver, and Surreal to Reel in the U.S.
In 2006, Grant finally released his second album, a self produced effort titled 3000 Days. This new CD includes many of the same musicians featured on House Of Mirrors, with the addition of new instruments, including sitar, tablas and shakuhachi flute. Initial response has again been very positive.
House Of Mirrors - Reviews
Bob D'eith, The Voice Magazine, Vancouver
"Murray Grant has put together a very interesting and beautiful piece of work. It is basically an instrumental mixture of New Age/Relaxation/World with an interesting twist: it was written and performed principally by a drummer. This gives the music a great percussive base which is often missing in this type of music. Grant has also brought in a large number of guest performers playing such diverse instruments as the erhu, berimbau, fon tom from, cello, violin, dumbek and Chinese dulcimer. Co-producers Grant and Andrew Duncan show how different sonic textures can be woven together to make a tapestry of music with a truly world-wide appeal."
Jeff Bateman, The Record Magazine, Canada
"Colorful instrumental debut by a Surrey, B.C. keyboardist and a baker's dozen of fine local players. With full bodied compositions and textured arrangements, Grant's work sits comfortably between Windham Hill accessibility and higher-brow art music. The shimmering Asian feel of tracks like Somebody's Child has helped secure distribution in Hong Kong, Taiwan and China."
Bill Watt, RPM Magazine, Canada
"The far East moves West with this 100 per cent MAPL album of B.C.-based Murray Grant's compositions in the mode and presentation of the Orient. Now, right up front, this reviewer admits that he's not completely enough versed in the form to make a statement of authenticity. We are prepared, however, to state that it's most enjoyable to the ear and relaxing to the psyche. Too often, the music of the East lacks the melody expected by a Western ear. Not so here. The music flows with a gentle yet urgent tintinnabulation -- rather like the exotica of Martin Denny -- that's quite entrancing. More please."
Lorne Mallin, The Province Newspaper, Vancouver
"Grant, a Vancouver drummer, has written and co-produced, with Euphoria's Andrew Duncan, an insightful CD beautifully blending instruments from around the world.
Warning to music-listening drivers: The Indian bamboo flute played by Cameron Hood on Things Are Going To Get Better makes you want to close your eyes and experience it inside. Gutsy percussion that punctuates soft, sweet songs such as Solitaire and Into The Dream helps give the new-age album an edge"
Carol Wright, All Music Guide, USA
"This is a stellar first recording by composer/drummer Murray Grant of Vancouver, B.C. In these days of inexpensive sound samples, Grant chose to record the album using an ensemble of 13 live musicians, some playing Chinese instruments.
The album begins with 'Drive'; its heavy drum/rhythm bass line determines the strength of the piece, but this is tempered by solos and pizzicato by two violins. A pinging sound gives the impression of overhead wires. 'Things Are Going To Get Better' also flows along on a rhythm groove, but it is more leisurely. Here, the Indian bamboo flute, played by Cameron Hood, gives the piece its Eastern temperance. One of the most distinctive sounds on the album is the 'erhu' Chinese violin played by Ji Rong Huang; the instrument adds a sentimental, bittersweet feeling to 'Somebody's Child.' Some of the most moving pieces on the album are 'We Are As One', a gentle yet broad lullaby, and '1World',with its tapestry of syncopated rhythms that race ahead of a spinning universe. Celso Machado sings a passionate Latin-African vocalise.
Throughout, Grant has hit upon a world fusion mixture that really works. None of the exotic instruments are trivialized or taken for granted, and the pieces are balanced between memorable melodies and intriguing unfolding of rhythm patterns. You'll discover new layers with each listening."
Words And Music Magazine
"The charming original tunes on Murray Grant's 'House Of Mirrors' are lent added resonance via a combination of ethnic and classical instruments."
House Of Mirrors - Radio Play
CHGA Maniwaki - "Les Douces Heures" show, two months in Top 20,reaching #2
CIUT Toronto - "Celebration Starsong" show, two months in Top 20, reaching #4
CHRW London - "The Nightflight" show, three months in Top 20
QMFM Vancouver - "Nite Lite" show, featured as "CD Of The Week"
CHMB Vancouver - "From Here To Forever..." used as hourly station theme,
- featured on "Vancouver Smash" showcase
Tracks from the disc are also being played on CBC Radio (both locally and nationally), CKWR in Waterloo, CHAY in Barrie, CIAM in Cambridge, CFJR in Brockville, CKLH in Hamilton, CHFM in Calgary, CKUA and CHQT in Edmonton, CIOC and CFUV in Victoria, CKWV in Nanaimo, STAR-FM in Chilliwack, KSVR and KGHP in Washington, U.S.A., and CFRO, MyCITY Radio and CJSF in Vancouver. Digital Music Express Canada, a satellite broadcast system, has picked up one track for their independent channel, and two others for their New Age relaxation channel. Other radio add-ons in Canada and the U.S.A. are pending.
"This is sort of a magical album for me. Usually when I listen to something, I listen to every track off the album, and try to give every artist the benefit of the doubt. The second I listened to this album, I loved it." - John Beaudin, QM/FM, Vancouver
"Top drawer dramatic instrumentals! These tunes should be TV scenes. 'House Of Mirrors' is a fabulous debut." - Renee Gelpi, CIUT Toronto
"It is good stuff, and quite a surprise. I certainly was not expecting the range of tone colours!" - Tony Dillon-Davis, CKUA, Edmonton
Check out the artist's website:
1. The Big Dream
5. The River
6. New Day
7. The Gates Of Heaven