Involved with electronic sound for many years, Chris Gross produced numerous cassettes and CDs of swirling and, at times, droning ambience.
Above, many of his home recorded tapes over the years and below, “The Fung” an unreleased project from around 1990 that will be featured as Tape Of The Month in September of this year.
I don’t remember exactly how I got into trading cassettes, but I do know who I first traded with: Lawrence Crane, Ken Moore, and Chuck Larrieu. This was around the late ’70s and early ’80s, when I first started creating electronic music; I became a member of the IEMA and later subscribed to the Contact List of Electronic Music. I came into contact with quite a few musicians that way, and when Richard Ginsburg of WFMU started playing my music on his show “Synthetic Pleasure” it put me in touch with a lot of musicians in the NYC area. Arnold Mathes was one of the first people I started trading with through the show (we have continued to trade and collaborate to this day); others included Doug Walker (who used to host concerts in his apartment), Lauri Paisley, Stefan Tischler, Tara Cross, and Dave Myers. Dave would occasionally sell some of his equipment, and I still have the lap steel guitar I bought from him!
At around this time I started listening to the SubGenius Media Barrage tapes that Irwin Chusid used to play on WFMU; one thing led to another and I ended up trading tapes with Ivan Stang and other SubGenii. Dioni Piatkowski of Polish National Radio used to air some of my material on his program during this period, and other European DJs began requesting my tapes as well.
Most of my material was being put out as cassette albums on my own label, “Utility Recording”, as well as in the form of individual collections for friends of mine. Around 1995 or so, I started winding down the public distribution of my tapes due to a lack of time and resources; several deaths and illnesses in the family over the next couple of years made it impossible for me to return to business as usual, although I did continue to record music and to trade with friends. The last cassette I produced was never released; it was an album called “The Fung” by an imaginary group called “Men In Black”, and was to have been the third part of a trilogy.
A few years ago I was able to revive Utility Recording as a CD label and to release several albums that had been in production for a long time: “Voltage” (as “The Trademark Project”) and “Eclipse” (as “C. G. Gross”). I began using my initials to distinguish myself from the other Chris Grosses who are currently producing music…
I’ve just finished a new album (“Mythos”), and am doing some preliminary work on several Trademark Project albums at once; whichever one gets finished first will be the next release.