Bob Bralove came to the Grateful Dead in 1987 to teach them MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) technology and swiftly became the band’s on-stage tech wizard, joining in on space with his own keyboard, eventually contributing to songs as a co-writer and producer.
Tom “T.C.” Constanten joined the Dead in 1968 and spent a year contributing mightily to one of the band’s most brilliant musical eras before moving on.
Together, they’re Dose Hermanos. They’ve made a lot of music over the past 17 years, but to this point it’s been largely in the realm of the psychedelic and electronic. Then they saw the two grand pianos at Prairie Sun studio, and inspiration flowered – in their ears alone, because the pianos were in different studios.
Wired together via headphones, they made their cues, entrances, and endings, Bob said, “by psychic transmission. You never know how much you rely on a nod, wink, or smile till you are blindfolded. I was worried about it when we started, but after the first take I realized it wasn’t a problem. We just knew what to do.”
The result is Batique, an exquisite and soulful series of improvised duets. Because it is acoustic, the subtleties are startlingly accessible, from the Aaron Copland-folk flavors in “Appalachian Summer” to the Stravinsky themes in “Tokyo Dawn.”
“Recording with acoustic pianos has allowed Batique to breathe in a big way,” said Bob recently. “It becomes all about touch, feel, and commitment. These tracks show Dose Hermanos at its best. We can finish each other’s musical thoughts in a way that still astonishes me.”
T.C. adds: “Long before there was ‘the cloud’ there were countless ‘clouds,’ arising organically, spontaneously - a gene pool of creativity, cultural conversations in metaspace, ideas tossed about among communities of artists, writers, musicians. Batique is the result of our diving in the deep end, willingly entering an uncharted realm, a vibrant playground where we make it all up as we go along.”
Bob and T.C.’s partnership has its roots in both their shared foundation in rock improvisation as well as formal training in composition and the musical avant-garde. T.C. studied with the greats – Karlheinz Stockhausen and Luciano Berio. Bob studied with the Pulitzer Prize winning Wayne Peterson before working with Stevie Wonder. Together, they’re Dose Hermanos – and they’re something else.