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Grateful Dead/John Oswald

Initial release : November 1995

Swell Artifacts 1969-1996

A double CD plunderphonic collage of Dark Stars, performed by the Grateful Dead, assembled by John Oswald.

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Disc 1

  • Novature (Formless Nightfall) (Oswald/Skjellyfetti)*
  • Pouring Velvet (Oswald/Skjellyfetti)
  • In Revolving Ash Light (Oswald/Skjellyfetti)
  • Clouds Cast (Oswald/Skjellyfetti)
  • Through (Oswald/Skjellyfetti)
  • Fault Forces (Oswald/Skjellyfetti)
  • Phil Zone (Lesh/Oswald)
  • Estrella Oscura (Oswald/Skjellyfetti)
  • Recedes (While We Can) (Oswald/Skjellyfetti)
Disc 2
  • Transilience (Oswald/Skjellyfetti)
  • 73rd Star Bridge Sonata (Oswald/Skjellyfetti)
  • Cease Tone Beam (Oswald/Skjellyfetti)
  • Speed of Space (Oswald/Skjellyfetti)
  • Dark Matter Problem/Every Leaf Is Turning (Oswald/Skjellyfetti)
  • Foldback Time (Oswald/Skjellyfetti)
* there is a hidden track before track 1


The Dark Stars on Grayfolded are taken from Grateful Dead shows between 1968 and 1993. The musicians involved are therefore;

  • Tom Constanten
  • Jerry Garcia
  • Keith Godchaux
  • Mickey Hart
  • Bruce Hornsby
  • Bill Kreutzmann
  • Phil Lesh
  • Ron McKernan (Pigpen)
  • Brent Mydland
  • Bob Weir
  • Vince Welnick

  • Producer - John Oswald
  • Keeper of the Vault - Dick Latvala
  • Multitrack engineer - John Cutler

  • Diplomacy - Henry Kaiser
  • Particular thanks to - David Gans, Phil Lesh, Holly Small, Greg Goodman, Tom Constanten, Bob Bralove, Gary Lambert, Steve Silberman, Bob Wiseman
  • Mystery Lab. Staff - G. Ray Brain, Terri Firm, Norm Igma
  • Executive director for Swell - Jeff Rogers
  • Swell facilitator - Mike Greggs
  • Executive director for Artifact music - Henry Kucharzyk
  • Design implementation - Greg Van Alstyne, Vilip Mak
  • CD transfers - Clive Allen
  • Time cartography - Phil Strong
  • CD booklet essay - Rob Bowman

  • Cover design and compiled by - John Oswald
  • Cover realised by - Greg Van Alstyne
  • Cover based on an 18th century vanitas by Thys Claesz

Taken from over 100 performances of Dark Star between 1968 and 1993. These are built, layered and 'folded' to produce one large, new re-composed Dark Star.

Oswald described it in the following way;

It's not a performably possible version of Dark Star. You can't have three generations of Jerry Garcias live on stage together - but there's this illusion of it being the Grateful Dead playing in concert.
And on another occasion;
I've made a very unorthodox Dark Star but I haven't tried to submerge the performances under a lot of technique. I've tried to let the performances still speak for themselves.
The CD booklet contains an extensive essay on Oswald, plunderphonics, Dark Star and Grayfolded. The booklet also contains a fold-out chronology of the contents of the discs indicating the source Dark Stars used throughout.

Grayfolded was originally released as a single CD, Transitive Axis, the first disc of this set. Purchasers of Transistive Axis were encouraged to pay for a second disc, Mirror Ashes, in advance, to be delivered when complete. Subsequently the two disc were released as a double CD set.

The term plunderphonics derives from a paper presented by Oswald to the Wired Society Electro-Acoustic Conference in Toronto in 1985, entitled, "Plunderphonics, or audio piracy as a compositional prerogative"

In an interview in 1995 Oswald described how the project came about;

Phil Lesh called me up and talked me into doing it. At that point, I hadn't listened to any Grateful Dead music in about twenty years. I did think I was qualified, because I do think it's often a good idea to come into a project without a lot of prior knowledge and get kind of an alien's overview of what the music seems to be, and then put in your own two cents of what you think it should be. And I think that was the case for this. During the course of working on it, I went to a couple of Grateful Dead concerts, but other than that, I haven't listened to anything except these hundred versions of 'Dark Star' that I found in the vaults.
On another occasion Oswald said that he had been asked (by David Gans) to produce something very short, he explained his response to this suggestion;
What interested me most about the Grateful Dead was their extended playing style. I wrote a counter-proposal to David saying, 'Well, I've been thinking about it and all I can hear is the opposite - something very long.
Related releases

Reissued as a double CD in 1999, Original Masters 142152

The first disc of Grayfolded was original release as a single CD;

The second disc of Grayfolded was release as a single CD to be added to the first; Foldback Time was subsequently included on the compilation; Some sections of Grayfolded were included on the plunderphonics compilation;