The Deadcast celebrates the 30th anniversary of 1991’s “Infrared Roses,” the last original Grateful Dead album (with cover art by Jerry Garcia & track titles by Robert Hunter) & explores the band’s MIDI years.
Infrared Roses supplementary notes
by Jesse Jarnow
Bob Bralove was the Dead’s keyboard and MIDI engineer from 1987 through 1995. In recent years, he has collaborated with Tom Constanten, Henry Kaiser and more, with music available through his website.
The tech critic Howard Rheingold conducted a wonderful interview with Jerry Garcia in June 1990, joined unexpectedly by none other than Owsley Stanley for an extended conversation about virtual reality, AI, tech graphics, and other futurological topics. Howard posted a transcript, and the recording can be heard here.
Around the Dead, band members maintained an interest in technology. Bob Bralove told us about how they were all simultaneously reading Stuart Moulthrop’s early hypertext novel “Victory Garden,” first published in 1993. A portion can be read online.
The founders of the label Hausu Mountain were especially influenced by the Dead’s drums/space jams and MIDI period, including the band Good Willsmith featuring label cofounders Doug Kaplan and Max Allison. One of their recent live cassettes has art modeled on a Dead tape.
Doug’s MIDI version of “Terrapin Station > Drums.”
Deep space-head M. Geddes Gengras, “Passage Under the Mountains”
Keith Rankin, known as Giant Claw, uses contemporary MIDI music to explore hyperreal percussion.
Great episode on Infrared Roses and the MIDI Space years!
I always timed things to be where I needed to be as the 2nd set moved into the free form sections of Drums/Space…
My “favorite” Dead songs would go through phases and change over time, but Drums/Space was an every night highlight…
Opening portals and unlacing seems between senses…sometimes swirling symmetry…sometimes as chaotic and groundless as falling down an elevator shaft…always a lot of fun…
I really enjoyed this episode.
As a head who came of age and came to the Dead in the 90s, Infrared Roses was actually the first release of theirs that I had. My initial experiences going to shows, I loved drums and space. I hadn't really "gotten" all of their music at that point. I was into edgier music and looking for the "acid test" . Drums and space blew me away. I'm much more into the music and full shows now, but this episode was an interesting reflection for me on what first got me excited about the band.
This was also a fascinating look on what the Dead were doing to push their music in the 90s with MIDI. I enjoyed hearing some of the back story.
Something interesting that this show made me think about is that during the last couple years that Jerry was in the band, one of the places where he was still really energized was in his ballads coming out of space. Stella Blue, Days Between, Standing on the Moon. there are some great versions of those where he is really rocking, coming out of space in 94-95. Was his energy level related to his enjoyment of space? Interesting question I think.
Anyhow - Bravo to the Deadcast to putting this out there. Fantastic journalism! Thank you!
Thanks for bringing up that low note in St. Louis back in September. We were on the lawn perfect center and everyone in our group felt as if we had been briefly transported to another dimension after Mickey hit that note on the Beam. I think the first words any of us spoke were along the lines of "what just happened?" Truly a magical experience.
are there any new episodes in the works?
The Grateful Dead Podcast is most definitely one of the best podcasts out there. The research, content and production are remarkable!
But this time, I felt I might not be too interested in this particular subject, as I listened to the Infrared Roses CD just a few times. Now, I always enjoyed 'Drumz 'n' Space' at he shows I attended, but didn't see it as something to really go back to.
I decided to listen anyway during one of my day walks.
Of course, I was enthralled by the episode.........and I have been listening to Infrared Roses frequently this past week!
It's wonderful when a Deadhead gets an entirely new perception! The Dead were creating new music and soundscapes EVERY NIGHT!