I generally introduce rules on any session—whether that session is an album session that incorporates lots of different pieces of music or one single piece of music. For example, for Music is Rotted One Note, one of my rules was that there was to be no sequencing whatsoever—no MIDI, no samplers. Arbitrary though they are, rules always turn out to be quite useful. You’re not playing bass this time around, but if you designed an LED display for the bass, it would probably make Bootsy Collins’ eyes pop out. [Laughs] Well, that’s a lovely idea. There’s plenty of ideas being batted around. I’m particularly keen on the LED helmet because it brings the presentation around to a mental image. It’s like a quantized view into my mind’s eye. I’m also trying to develop polyrhythmic implications from the way the visuals are happening alongside the music. If you imagine playing one beat with the sound, and the next beat comes with the picture, finding some sort of polyrhythmic contrast between what’s happening visually and what’s happening rhythmically.
arrangement of simple shapes to a narrative through time. With this project, I was trying to focus in and represent some of those images. More often than not, they’re abstract rather than referring to “real” situations. How much did the visuals inform and shape the rest of the music that you came up with? That was also part of the investigation, to see whether pictures would feed back into musical information. I must say, though, that the link for me going in that direction is a lot weaker. When I look at objects, they don’t tend to evoke sound for me in the way that sound evokes images. But still, I was keen to see if anything would happen. I think that there’s a lot of room for further investigation.
synesthesia and squarepusher In our book Chromatic: The Crossroads of Color and Music, ALARM examined artists who have merged the aforementioned mediums in striking fashions, including musicians and composers who experience synesthesia, the involuntary commingling of senses. Squarepusher, who experiences a form of chromesthesia (seeing color from tone), has reflected this, whether intentionally or not, in his recent cover art.
Some of the imagery for this music, like your previous work, was inspired by dreams. Dreams are hard to translate to LED displays. It sounds like you’re making use of the limits of that format. Possibly. There was a deliberate attempt to rule out the parameters that were available. For this, I’ve been largely operating in monochrome. So the color aspect of this hasn’t really been investigated. There are certain motives for that, one of which was a very practical one, which was to try to cut down the available options at any given point in the recording and image-making process so I wouldn’t be getting lost in a sea of options.
Ufabulum (Warp, 2012)
Shobaleader One: d’Demonstrator (Warp, 2010)
Also, this particular medium offers its greatest intensity in black and white, when you display 100-percent white on these backflow screens giving all they can possibly give in terms of the output of the amount of light and brightness. But there’s a whole lot further I can go. How much do these limits apply to the sonics as well?
Numbers Lucent EP
Just a Souvenir