The Granatis take a side journey into ambient electronic music
August 14, 2014 12:00 AM
David and Joey Granati.
By Scott Mervis / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Ian Abbott and Gareth Edwards, the creators behind The 4th Dimensional Beings, aren't really named Ian and Gareth and weren't inspired by a visit to Stonehenge, as the concocted backstory goes.
Rather, The 4th Dimensional Beings are two of the Granati brothers -- Joey and David -- from Beaver Falls, who are going off their own grid with the project "Alien History."
The 4th Dimensional Beings
What: Premiere live performance of “Alien History.”
Where: The Bottlebrush Gallery, 539 Main St., Harmony, with a new collection of original oil paintings by Joey Granati.
When: 7 p.m. Friday.
Admission: Free; bottlebrusharts.com.
Longtime Pittsburgh music fans know The Granati Brothers, aka G-Force, as the late '70s hard rock band that scored a major label contract and toured with Van Halen. When that bubble burst several years later, they forged on as one of the area's longest-running bands while individual members branched off into various projects.
Joey works the dueling piano bar at Sing Sing and teaches at For Those About to Rock Academy with guitar-playing brother David, who also runs his own studio in Ambridge and teaches at the PA Cyber School.
It was at that backyard studio where they created this lush ambient/electronic project that exhibits their love of everything from Mozart to Pink Floyd.
"My father was a band director and studied classical music and so did my mother, so from the time we were babies all we heard in the house was classical music," Joey says. "And I studied for eight years with a college-level teacher, so this was stuff that was trapped inside of us."
With the Granati Brothers, he says, they constantly were told to "dumb it down" to appeal to the average pop fan.
"The Granati brothers were classically trained," Joey says, "This is my pure heart."
The impetus for the project was completing the studio around 2000 after surviving a rough patch with a previous one.
"We went through a horrible period of our lives where we were partners with a really bad guy, and we lost a studio over it," Joey says. "We never gave up. We built another studio and the first thing we did, because we felt so good about ourselves, is we recorded music we always heard in our head. We knew it wasn't hit-record music. It wasn't like hip. It was kind of timeless and stuff that we felt like we needed to do to whatever creative force in the universe created us. Truthfully, we did that completely out of love."
Excited by the new studio -- where he says they could record a 30-piece orchestra -- they met there every morning over coffee for several months to work on the compositions.
"More than anything, my brother David and I, we're like two other arms on each other's body," Joey says. "David would come in with a riff, he would play something beautiful on guitar, and instantly I knew exactly what to play to it."
Joey was inspired by the concept he learned in school -- "I did pay attention in school occasionally" -- that the way light travels, everything we see in the sky was from years ago. They were also inspired by classical composers, Kraftwerk, Vangelis, the fusion jazz/rock era and, of course, Pink Floyd.
"We listened to Pink Floyd in altered states many times, and I can admit that to God, country and fellow," he says with a laugh.
People have told them over the years to release the music, he says, "but we never thought of it as a commercial entity. We never thought it would see the light of day. This morning it's No. 50 on Reverb Nation around the world."
It serves a different function than the Granati Brothers.
"It's really nice music if you're in a spa or whatever. It calms people down. My favorite influence in history is Mozart, and it's the Mozart Effect. People work better with that kind of music on, and they relax better. Rock 'n' roll doesn't relax people. It fires people up."
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