recorded dec 2018 at pioneer works studio (bk, ny)
recorded and mixed at pioneer works studios — december 2018
i made this record exploring communication transmission - experimenting with translating text through unfamiliar communication technologies (braille, RTTY, etc.. always ones that i did not understand by sound alone) to see if the feeling and emotional content of the text could somehow survive in the sonic byproducts of these systems. after exploring these translations i went a step further - imitating the sonic languages myself and therefore embodying the intended expressive content through these “foreign” transmission dialects. it was a process to find my feelings and ideas in unfamiliar sounds.
the source for these translation experiments (and a few of the track titles: infinite cybernetic meadow and spinning blossoms) come from a richard brautigan poem i was reading while i was working on the recordings - it’s called “all watched over by machines of loving grace”. it’s from the late 60’s and describes a post-human future governed by a god-like artificial intelligence. it outlines a world in which computers and nature live in “perfect harmony” - a narrative that can be understood literally or ironically depending on the read. it’s this untethered, flip-flop reading that inspired me - and became the source of expression throughout a series of these tracks. the AI take-over narrative is played out for me… it’s “easy” - but my truth tends to see both sides — the purity of a data-utopia and the fear of the loss of humanism. the complexity of the question and the unknowing / acceptance of parallel future realities attracts me.
the title ‘new topographics’ comes from a mid 70’s photography exhibition that marked a shift in the content of then-contemporary landscape photography, most notably - finding abstract pictorial inspiration and ironic conceptual expression in the man altered landscapes of post-industrial environments. this charged, abstract portrayal of landscape is at the core of each of the compositions. these are musical environments that are a home to a dense sonic ecology — working with and against the communication systems that have altered the sounds of our cybernetic reality.
since making the record i’ve been building a live set that integrates elements of these communication systems in the performance directly - sampling myself writing directly on my snare drum and using texts as scores that govern my improvisation. i’ve taken these ideas from the screen / from the speakers and put them back into my body where i’m able to anthropomorphize them. there’s a hypnotic and spiritual aspect to it this way. a corporeal transmission of contradictions.