Off the End

SSC1732 2024-04-19

Track List

May Forever Pass Between - 8:13
Through the Heart of My Demarcation - 13:37
The Gate Is Open - 3:59
Your Shoes Point Like Arrows - 5:05
Unsharpened Angles of - 2:52
I Can See All of This - 9:03
How I Will Ornament Your Mouth - 2:56
Sometimes I Stand Behind You - 4:13
Immaculate Toes - 1:27
Leave It On the Ground - 10:34
Harmonic Convergence - 3:56


Brandon Ross - guitar, vocals
Hardedge - soundesign
Graham Haynes - cornet electronics
David Virelles - piano , keyboards
JT Lewis - drums

So much in the creative arts is determined by the choices of collaborators, environment, and performance goals. Guitarist, composer, and conceptualist Brandon Ross regularly creates situations with other musicians and artists to push their collective creativity to new destinations. The Phantom Station ensemble is a vehicle that Ross returns to with soundesign artist, Hardedge, to embark upon adventurous, uncharted musical journeys.

The idea behind Phantom Station was to assemble an “individual-directed” ensemble that could engage in an open musical discourse and instantaneous music-making without the borders of genre or preconceived musical ideas. One of the results of one of these meetings was recorded at Firehouse 12 in New Haven, Connecticut and is presented as Off The End, a fascinating document of spontaneous creation with an incredible cast of musicians, including cornetist Graham Haynes, keyboardist David Virelles, and drummer JT Lewis.

Ross began Phantom Station as a springboard for his creative pursuits with Hardedge, an electronic artist, whose singular soundesign work is employed to generate interactive sound worlds with textures and palettes conceived for the settings or ensembles. Hardedge’s electronics thus maximize the sonic and textural possibilities without overextending the size of the ensemble. Additionally, Phantom Station became an open-door invitational sound “crucible” for a round robin of Ross’s wide net of collaborators.

In late fall 2021, Ross presented two concerts of Phantom Station, one in New York at the Jazz Gallery and the other at Firehouse 12. The band had slightly different personnel for each show but with the same instrumentation, as Ross wanted to focus on the dynamics between his electric and acoustic guitars, Hardedge’s soundesign, and drums along with cornet/electronics and keyboards.

Haynes and Ross have known each other since Ross arrived in New York City in the early 1980s. They eventually made plans to record and perform duet material while the cornetist lived in Paris in the 90’s. Ross’s relationship with drummer JT Lewis is also a long and fruitful one, as they remain engaged in many musical settings, most importantly their avant power trio Harriet Tubman, with bassist Melvin Gibbs. The most recent addition to Ross’s collective fold is Cuban-born, US-based keyboard player David Virelles, who Ross met through a mutual affiliation with composer Henry Threadgill in 2014. The two hit it off and gradually began to perform together inviting each other into various projects.

This was the group that convened at Firehouse 12 on December 10, without detailing instructions about the musical direction prior to the show, with the intention of allowing the music to be unconfined by predetermined structures. Ross trusted all the members of this iteration of Phantom Station to direct and self-orchestrate with the resources and influences that they utilize as creative musicians. The recording captures the entire concert as it developed, which has been indexed for reference.