As pundits lament the loss of the album or conventional musical roles, it might be easy to miss a barely-hidden revolution in the craft of sound. Pieced together from the simplest of found acoustic instruments and strange electrified sonic organisms, fashioned with the most sophisticated of digital tools and computer music production machines, artists open an ocean of new musical and sonic discovery. The new venues and patrons proliferate, ranging from interactive installations to so-called “sonic branding,” sound design for games and motion spots and television, and yes, somewhere in there, even produce an album now and then.
Just ask Simon Pyke. As a solo artist, sound designer, composer, and through his sound design and music shop Freefarm, he’s a one-man Renaissance for the ears.
Simon, who tells us he’s a long-time reader, shares a short documentary behind his work. A beautiful short film takes you inside his Brighton, UK studio, a toybox of great musical toys that looks a bit as though someone was granted a wish and got to render the archives of this site in the real world. But it’s not so much the tools as the unabashed discovery of sound. That is to say, I find it impossible to watch this film and not want to immediately drop everything and get to making some sounds and music.
What’s equally impressive is that Mr. Pyke has produced for himself sonic fingerprints, even across varied work, sounds that are whimsical but always modern. It’s a kind of retro-futurism that sometimes draws from musical expressions that nod to everything from folk to Philip Glass.
As a sound maker, it’s easy to thrill at his show reel, but look, too, to a charmingly-personal instrumental EP on Bandcamp entitled Collisions. (In fact, you’ll notice what’s missing in all of this: a label. Instead, Simon does just fine running his own business in boutique sound and music, and releasing his own music to people who care about it.)
Have a look at his work; I know it’ll be inspiring my work this weekend. Thanks, Simon! Keep reading!