BRIAN GRIMM / BC GRIMM (Madison, WI) – Cello, 古琴 Guqin Chinese zither, 琵琶 Pipa Chinese lute, 高胡 Gaohu Cantonese fiddle, music production.
Composes and PERFORMS ACOUSTIC AS BRIAN GRIMM // when PAIRED W/ ELECTRONICS AS BC GRIMM
Multi-style Cellist & Composer Brian Grimm grew up surrounded by Chinese string instruments of every sort. After initiating lessons in with virtuosos Yang Wei (pipa) & Daxun Zhang (bass) of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silkroad Ensemble, Brian was lucky to continue his Chinese music studies on guqin (zither), pipa (lute), gaohu (fiddle) & daruan (bass lute) in Hong Kong with members of the 香港中樂團 Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra & Wuji Ensemble 無極樂團. Brian’s deep passion for music traditions from around the world has continued to grow and since 2015 he has been studying North Indian Classical music from sitar virtuoso Pt. Sugato Nag (Kolkata, West Bengal, India). Over the last 15 years Grimm has developed a deep language of Free Improvisation and has found a niche composing & performing scores for Dance and Theater.
Brian Grimm is something of an experimental-music powerhouse in Madison.” – Scott Gordon, Tone Madison, 2016
In conjunction with performing & teaching, Brian runs GrimmusiK Records – a label for all projects involving him & his brother AJ (classical & flamenco guitar). As an educator, Brian teaches all ages workshops on free-improvisation: “Music Improvisation = Conversation”; & Chinese music: “Melodies of China”. Brian loves the enthusiastic questions that arise after his performances. He always encourages the audience to follow their curiosity and learn about more global traditions – thus growing empathy and understanding for the people who have created such wondrous cultures.
LunART Festival, Linda DiRaimondo Aerial Dance, “Anamchara” (2019) – solo guqin plus pedalboard aerial dance score.
Solo Guqin – Flock Returns, Not Unchanged” (2014/2017)
Brian Grimm @ Silkroad’s Global Musician Workshop 2016
“Dinner” (2016) Dance Score soundcheck at Clowes Hall, Indianapolis
“Current of Air” Guqin + Dance + LED – Hong Kong Premiere @ Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, Jan 2013 (2013)
This Is NOT Shakespeare’s Macbeth (2013) NoExit Theater Score
#TheUniversalLanguage – Raga Jhinjhoti (2016) – cello, sitar, tabla
BC Grimm – “Orbis Obscura” live (2016)
“The Ideating Knell” (2014) originally released on > Signal Dreams records
reviews for “They’re Still Here” (2019)
September, 2019 Interview with Scott Gordon of Tone Madison: “On BC Grimm’s “They’re Still Here,” loss is beautifully unresolved“
From Tone Madison’s Top 20 Madison Records of 2019:
“Brian Grimm’s core activities include classical cello, jazz bass, and playing a Chinese zither the size of a small boat. His work as a collaborator has included improvising in the free-jazz trio Brennan Connors & Stray Passage, creating theater scores, and performing in avant-classical ensembles like Sound Out Loud and The Brothers Grimm. On top of that, his solo outings have been just as varied, from his hip-hop production work under the name Brain Grimmer to experimental electroacoustic projects like 2016’s Orbis Obscura. They’re Still Here, debuted in a live performance in summer 2018 and released as a recording this year under the name BC Grimm, is the closest Grimm as come to putting all of his different interests into one project. Playing more than a dozen stringed, percussion, and wind instruments, not counting field recordings and electronic production elements, Grimm creates an episodic and highly personal meditation on grief.
Grimm composed different sections of They’re Still Here in honor of different close friends and family members who have died in recent years. From somber low-end passages on the Viola da Gamba to whimsical patchworks of musique concrète, the single continuous half-hour piece puts the unresolvable pain of loss alongside the joy of acknowledging the imprint people leave on our lives even after they’re gone. Just as importantly, he treats grief as an experience both profound and mundane, acknowledging the difficulty of processing loss and all the times in life when we don’t get adequate time or space to process it. Field recordings woven into the music capture a person grabbing car keys on the way out the door, a coffee grinder that explodes into overpowering static, a 1940s radio broadcast about democratic socialism, kids playing in a schoolyard. Grimm uses almost everything about his disposal here to engross the listener in some of life’s thorniest contradictions, and in the course of it challenges us to appreciate the richness of all the life around us.” —Scott Gordon
reviews for “Orbis Obscura” (2016) CD [via Other Obscura]
“– a totally immersive, blissed-out trip that transports the listener away to distant climes…simply beautiful!”, “…glimmers of ‘sci-fi’ noises bleed through the drones. Over the course of the 35 minutes it totally immerses the listener in wave upon wave of gorgeous drones and otherworldly noises – utterly bewitching.“
— Dayz Of Purple And Orange, 2016
“ Madison composer and cellist Brian Grimm’s meditative, experimental soundscapes blend modern improvisational styles with ancient Chinese string instrument technique. …Prepare to be transported into a beautiful dream. “
— Isthmus Daily Page, 2016
“ Brian Grimm is something of an experimental-music powerhouse in Madison.”; ” …one of the most sonically untethered things Grimm has put out there so far—which is saying something, and also not a complaint. He uses this eccentric but relatively stripped-down setup to veer through an array of warmly distorted drones, sticky pulsating rhythms, and layers of scratchy texture. The release is also the first from a new Madison- and Milwaukee-focused label, Other Obscura. ”
— Scott Gordon, Tone Madison, 2016
“ [Orbis Obscura] … builds, peaks, and resolves through a series of aural whirlwinds and jolting, churning dialogue between the ancient sonic traditions of a 2,000-year old instrument and a just-encountered effects pedal. “
— Emili Earhart, Tone Madison’s “Top 20 Best Madison Records of 2016”
reviews for “The Ideating Knell” (2014) CD [via Signal Dreams]
“Madison-based multi-instrumentalist Brian Grimm specializes in playing the guqin and guzheng, Chinese zithers that sometimes run as large as a small canoe. He’s also a classically trained cellist and, under the name Brain Grimmer, produces adept and twisted instrumental hip-hop. In performances with Julian Lynch’s band and various jazz and improvisational groups around town, Grimm draws on both formal music studies and avant-garde extremes. …His new album, ‘The Ideating Knell,’ plies his expertise with Chinese stringed instruments into something resembling abstract electronic music. …Where most of us would be intimidated to touch one of these instruments, Grimm subjects them to alternate tunings, digital processing, and tools including mate straws and, according to his liner notes, “broken teaware.” Amid all the outlandish instrument-hacking, most of the tracks retain a certain tuneful minimalism, perhaps best demonstrated on ‘Flock Migrates Over The Pines’.”
— Arts Extract Podcast, 2014
“Madison, WI-based avant-jazz explorer BC Grimm is well known locally not just for his phenomenal cello work in live collaborations with artists like Julian Lynch, Spires That In The Sunset Rise, and the mighty Db Pedersen (to name just a few), but also the mind-blowing improvisational chops he showcases with his brother A.J. Grimm in cello-guitar duo The Brothers Grimm and his worldly and detailed production work as Brain Grimmer. More recently, Grimm’s work has been shifting focus toward his intriguing work with two different Chinese zithers, Guqin and Guzheng. We’re extremely proud to present ‘The Ideating Knell,’ a staggering album that combines Grimm’s deep experimentation with the zithers with his love of detailed processing.”
— Signal Dreams, 2014
reviews for “Redolent Spires” (2012) CD by The Brothers Grimm
“ (Brothers Grimm) … compositions are both classical and experimental, both disciplined and exploratory“
— Isthmus Daily Page, 2012
“ (Brothers Grimm) … able to create extremely striking contemporary classical with only string instruments. Compositions like “Stochastic Contexture: Heads” possess the unique ability to calm and agitate almost simultaneously.“
— AV Club, Madison, 2012