There are three main inspirations and contexts for this research – each of these headings are expanded upon in detail in the Streamland Blog:
1) Electronic Performative Spontaneity
Kieran Hebden: Both in his work as Four Tet and in a duo with Steven Reid, Hebden’s album production (particularly Everything Ecstatic) and his improvisations (The Exchange Sessions Pt 1 & 2 and Tongues) are a blueprint for this research in terms of the range of sounds achieved and of the richness and coherence of sound achievable by a single electronic performer. Four Tet’s work greatly influenced the creation of my instrument Square Bender, which evolved into the Streamland instrument I used to perform the laptop improvisations. The Tongues documentary footage is a prime example of where Hebden has quite precise and spontaneous control over a diverse array of sounds and audio parameters – particularly where other performers would tend rely on pre-prepared and/or quantized loops or sequences.
The Exchange Sessions albums and Tongues also feed into the next category, as all tracks on all three albums are live takes with no overdubs or edits.
2) Collaboration and the Streamlined Workflow
Beck: The Record Club series of albums. Studio recorded cover-albums, each recorded from start to finish in a single day. This provides two key focal points for me:
-The first is Beck’s interaction with other musicians, and the unique voices they bring to his oeuvre. There are also some valuable insights into when this doesn’t work so well, and the other musicians are subsumed into his aesthetic dominance. Reflecting on my own practice, I am aiming for true creative synergy, where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts
-The second is the way recurring conventions are used – production techniques, performative audio effects, instrumentation, style/genre etc. How these are used with creative integrity…and if they are not, how could they be used better, or in a way that is more harmonious with the overall aesthetic arc?
3) The Aesthetic Goal
The Dirty Three: The loose, flowing nature of their musical interactions is a strong aesthetic influence on my intended trajectory. Rhythmic precision is easy to achieve with loop-based sampling, and although I don’t intend to abandon the elegant simplicity of that, I do aim to augment it with the temporal flexibility this rich, flowing interaction, and the passionate intensity of The Dirty Three’s live performances.
Their album Whatever You Love, You Are (2000) is my central reference point in this vein, and I intend to bring this flowing rhythmic and timbral interaction that is so evocative of nature into the electronic music realm. Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks (1968) also exhibits aspects of this quality towards which I’m aiming.
Various precedents within the realm of sample-based electronic music that also display some elements of this aesthetic are DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing (1996) and The Private Press (2002), Four Tet’s Everything Ecstatic 2005), The Books’ Lost and Safe and (2005) Thought for Food (2002) and The Avalanches’ Since I Left You (2000) – however in all these examples the rhythmic quantization aspect is much more rigidly defined than what I intend to produce.
I also intend to build upon ideas in developed in my own 2008 album Earthbound, which is closer to this intended Dirty Three aesthetic than the albums mentioned above, but whose ideas I had not since expanded upon as it is sampled almost entirely from copyrighted commercial recordings.