ALL MUSIC PLAYED BY HAND, on INSTRUMENTS MADE OUT OF WOOD!
Frail and haunting, beautiful and dreamy, the music of composer team Todd Montgomery and
Gayle Ellett has a unique, yet familiar feel. Both of them have been composing and performing music professionally, for over thirty years each. Working under the name "Fernwood", their cinematic music blends the beautiful sounds of Greek & Irish bouzouki, sitar, acoustic guitar, Chinese ruan, Turkish cumbus, Moroccan oud, mandolin, harmonium, rababa, bulbul tarang, dilruba, gopichand, dotara, upright bass and rhodes piano.
ABOUT THE MUSIC:
Todd Montgomery and Gayle Ellett are currently exploring new areas of folk-psyche music. Contemporary yet Traditional, their music has a strong pan-cultural feel. By combining elements of Pastoral Acoustic Psychedelic music, with the sounds of Traditional American, Irish, Eastern European, Asian, and Middle Eastern music, they have created a hybrid style that is uniquely their own.
Their music has a strong autobiographical feel that accurately portrays a sense of who they are and where they live. Recorded in their Malibu studio, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, their music is a reflection of their lives in Southern California as well as the previous work they've done in the areas of Film and TV composition, Traditional World music, Rock and Jazz.
Currently, they are working with numerous film directors from around the world, on a wide variety of projects. These include artistic, commercial, and NGO films from: Holland, India, Brazil, UAE, Finland, South Africa, Thailand, Australia, Croatia, Serbia, Turkey, New Zealand, Italy, France, UK, Belize, Indonesia, Cuba, and Mexico.
"Fernwood is the brainchild of multi-instrumentalists Todd Montgomery and Gayle Ellett. The two have scored numerous film soundtracks both together and individually, and it shows. The songs are wonderfully melodic and emotionally direct, the diverse instruments are expertly layered, and dynamics are an essential aspect of the orchestrations. Acoustic stringed instruments constructed of wood predominate, and timbre and sonority suggest place and idiom as strongly as the actual compositional structures. Middle Eastern, Asian, African, and European motifs are masterfully interwoven with Americana to form a luscious yet rootsy imaginary idiom that is intriguing, uplifting, and at once familiar and exotic."
GUITAR PLAYER Magazine
"This month's Spotlight is a beautiful acoustic based track featuring a combination of instruments that we rarely hear. While the writing, arranging and performances are of the highest order, it is the blend of the various instruments in the mix that really makes "Open Seas" something special to our ears. Gayle and Todd have skillfully managed to combine numerous stringed instruments, many with competing frequency ranges, into an open, airy mix that leaves space for each individual sound source, while maintaining a full cohesive feel, free of artifact and digital "nasties." Relax and enjoy! Well done!
"The concept behind this album should be enough to tempt any lover of acoustic music to click straight across to CDBaby and grab a copy of this album for a mere $12. The idea is beautiful in its simplicity: All the music is played by hand, on instruments made out of wood. The exhaustive mix of instruments is what separates this album from any acoustic instrumental record I’ve ever heard. The instruments are used in different combinations across the 12 songs. As a result there is a such a wide range of sounds, textures and energies that each stands as a wholly individual listening experience. As a listener I was kept enthralled, as each track opened new possibilities. An enchanting, beautiful and captivating aural pleasure."
Conclusion: 9 out of 10
DUTCH PROGRESSIVE ROCK PAGE at www.DPRP.net
"What the two pioneers of cinematic sound Todd Montgomery and Gayle Ellet offer in their recent release, Almeria is a truly stunning and unique array of soundscapes in a "pan-cultural" approach to composition. Self described as "pastoral and psychedelic," their style blends a traditional American acoustic sound with starkly contrasting elements of global influence, including Irish, Eastern European, Indian, and Middle Eastern. It's cowboy, it's jazz, it's Oriental. It's "no-pressure" art that does not extrovertly "sell," it casually assimilates and charms.
Absolutely enchanting, a brilliant mix of interesting textures and layers of exotic acoustic timbers. A tantalizing taste of otherworldly aural delight."
"Beautiful, picturesque acoustic instrumental music with loads of natural space and some gorgeous chord changes. Just like you're seeing the sea for the first time in 3 years on your road trip."
"Top 25 CDs Of The Month" for three months (March, April, May), at ECHOES Radio show, heard on 150 stations.
Check it out for yourself!
P.O.Box 4276 Malibu, CALIFORNIA 90264 USA
TODD MONTGOMERY began experimenting with string instruments in the fourth grade. Since then he has enjoyed learning to play such instruments as Irish bouzouki, sitar, mandolin and guitar. He spent his teen years in psychedelic rock bands until he discovered the folk music of America and Ireland. In search of deeper improvisation in an established tradition, he studied the sitar for many years with a real sitar master, Harihar Rao, who is Ravi Shankar's oldest student. He performed on Irish bouzouki and mandolin for the movie, Chasing the Dragon, The Veronica Guerin Story. When he's not playing music or playing with his wife and son, Todd can often be found surfing the waves off Malibu. You can find more information about him at: www.myspace.com/tjmontgomery
GAYLE ELLETT has been composing and producing music for over 35 years, and has performed on over 50 CDs. He has written music for numerous Film projects and TV shows, commercials, animations, computer games, and music libraries. One of his main music groups, Djam Karet, currently has 16 CDs released so far, and has received great reviews and awards in hundreds of magazines world-wide, including Rolling Stone Magazine's "Number 2 BEST Independent Album Of The Year" and Billboard Magazine's "Critic's Choice Award". Currently, you can hear his traditional Japanese Koto music on MTV, thoughout the world. When he's not busy working in the studio, Ellett can often be found flying his hang glider 5,000 meters high over the mountains of Southern California and Northern Mexico. You can find more information about him at: www.virb.com/GayleEllett and www.DjamKaret.com
About our Producer WAYNE YENTIS:
In the 1970's Wayne was the managing editor of Recording Engineer/Producer Magazine. While working with his longtime friend Tom Oberheim, Wayne built custom electronic modifications for Oberheim's synthesizers. Later, while working for his own company, he invented and produced the Clavitar, a guitar-style keyboard controller for synthesizers. Wayne has personally designed and built custom electronic instruments for: Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa, Supertramp, Toto, Herbie Hancock, Lee Ritenour, Joe Zawinul, George Duke, Patrick Moraz, Gary Wright, Tommy Mars, Patrick O'Hearn, Terry Bozzio, Pablo Cruise and many others. FERNWOOD feels very fortunate to have him as a friend, and his help has been greatly appreciated!