After and Before is Air & Rain’s second recording. The group consists of Meg Cassell, oboe and English horn, her brother Stan Cassell on piano, and Max Benoit on percussion. Air & Rain’s first album, When Faraway is Here, Max was featured on two compositions. However, in this recording, percussion is incorporated throughout, and with its addition, the ensemble has created a distinctive style that has evolved into unconventional textures, unique blends, and expressive depth.
Air & Rain’s Creative Process All the pieces on this album are created and composed on the spot. Air & Rain’s two recordings represent music making and playing for the joy of it. The creative process is to allow whatever takes place to unfold as pure creation. It is interesting to note that even though Stan and Meg have not played music together ever before (that is, before the advent of Air & Rain) they have very similar expressive styles, taste of musical expression, instinctive give and take. You could say, it is in their DNA as siblings. For them, these musical projects are born of absolute celebration of each other and of the very divergent roads each of them have taken until now.
Biographies of the Artists
Meg has been a professional classical oboist for her entire adult life. She has studied Oboe at the University of Oregon, Yale, and as a Fulbright Scholar, studied at the Staatliche Hochschule fuer Musik in Hanover, Germany. She subsequently played contract tenured positions (in orchestras) over the next 16 years in Germany and in the States. She played for years with the Oregon Bach Festival and with Festival of the Future in Switzerland. Meg now enjoys a varied career teaching at the university level, playing chamber music, making concerto appearances, as well as adding improvisation and composition with Air & Rain.
Stan, a Portland, Oregon area pianist, guitarist and visual artist, is as versatile as a musician and artist as he is a professional scientist. As a professional musician, he writes and plays in just about all popular genres, from rock, folk, spoken word, to blues and jazz. He brings to Air & Rain harmonic richness and a vast array of styles. Within science, he investigates friction as well as the dynamics and interactions of microscopic particles.
Max, also of Portland, Oregon, is currently reinventing himself as photographer, composer and guitarist, as well as being an accomplished percussionist. He has studied music theory and jazz, and has also played rock, psychedelic/experimental music, and blues. He is particularly inspired to be the “&” in Air & Rain and is enjoying the revival of hand/ethnic percussion instruments. He brings to the group unique expressiveness and color.