King Britt’s next album is one that explores a sonic future – and now it has its own future, too. At a time when music may seem disposable, this is a limited release that will literally blossom when discarded, with seed paper that you can plant. CDM is exclusively hosting the streaming debut of The Bee and the Stamen next week, which calls for a brief preview here to kick off discussion of the intersection of nature and electronic sound. (See the rehearsal vid, complete with monome, Maschine, KAOSS Pad QUAD.)
Technology may seem synthetic – hence the derogative “synthesizer” – but King’s release is part of a growing scene of music that explores the connection with the environment. (And not just by pretending to juice walnut essence, as we saw earlier this week.)
This weekend, a huge swath of artists cluster in Philadelphia (at America’s oldest-surviving botanical garden, no less) – for just some examples of what’s happening.
THE SWITCHED-ON GARDEN 002
The poster for the event says it better than just about anything I could say. Bob Moog, who reportedly despised the term “synthesizer,” would no doubt be proud.
“Organic” is the word I’d use for King’s approach to music making, too. It’s tough to really get a feel in a few short minutes of online video, but the rehearsal footage here at top gives you a taste. Keeping sounds un-quantized and under the fingertips means the ability to really improvise live, not only composing but playing parts as percussion – and thus to need that rehearsal. This should be nothing new to this site; the idea is that artists can spread this sort of humanized playing. Indeed, as readers in comments routinely chide this site for describing music that many people are doing, I think of that bee colony: imagine a global hive of musicians, spreading musical ideas like pollen. Maybe producers can be plentiful, not just a heroic lone wolf, but a connected colony. (Maybe my blood sugar is just low and I should eat some honey and drop this metaphor. Also possible. I’ll leave you to ponder.)
While we await the album release on Tuesday the 16th, now is a good time to see if there are things you’d like to know from King about music making, technique and composition, or reflections on bees. (More questions will surely come up after listening – well, I’d hope – but let us know the sorts of things you’d like to know as I communicate with King.) And see you next week.
Here’s the word on the record – and the unique “plantable” distribution:
The Bee and The Stamen is legendary producer King Britt’s sonic interpretation of a bee’s journey. From the search for the organ that produces pollen – the stamen – to the falling of grains that result in cross-pollination, pulses and streams of sound envelop the listener in a masterpiece of sonic design and imagination. The story unfolds exhibiting a depth of technique and artistry with elements of systems music, radiophonic wizardry and washes of 70’s-tinged library dreamscapes.
King Britt’s The Bee and the Stamen will be released in a LIMITED EDITION run of 200 Plantable Music seed-paper albums available at DataGarden.org. Type in the url and code written on the back of your seed-paper to download your music. Then, plant your album and watch it grow into blue Lobelias.
KING BRITT: THE BEE AND THE STAMEN [Release info, Data Garden]