It’s a film about tuning into the spaces around you, but KMRU makes an argument for being more than where you’re from. And to open up possibilities, he also does the thing I expect a lot of you know you want to do but might be afraid to do – turn off the grid now and then. Even in the software known for it.

Starting in Nairobi, Kenya but arriving (as Joseph did a little bit ago) in Berlin, the film is really a piece about listening and expression:

It’s really a nice eleven minutes, probably unlike most artist films we’ve seen in this industry. Even as he talks about his experience in Kenya, I think it’s likely intensely relatable to anyone reading this site, wherever you’re from.

I do have that Star Wars flashback to Luke turning off the targeting computer, but yeah, turning off the metronome is about allowing music to find another pace or adapt to fluidity in the way field recording does.

I think this came about when I started using more texture-based sound and field recording in my work. I would not know what a recording’s ‘time’ is, so I’d just approach composing more intuitively. There is some sense of higher intuition when not using the metronome, I find myself knowing when it’s right to layer a new part, I hit record anywhere in the piece not constrained if it’ll be in time or not.

Of course, equally important – he’s not saying he’s abandoning the metronome for rhythmic music but changing the approach to it. That also seems an important exercise – from learning to count on a different beat in jazz while still hearing the click to trying different approaches to phrase or feel, even with the use of the machine for synchronization.

It’s all worth a thorough launch, and I do hope we get to catch up more with Joseph soon, amidst an increasingly busy schedule (and a welcome one, at that).

Bonus – you get two Max for Live recommendations:

And field recordings from all around the world are available as a download from Ableton.

While you’re digging, though, it’s worth noting that KMRU’s father, also Joseph Kamaru, had a major role both in Kenyan political and musical histories, one the younger Joseph has been really committed to exploring.

There is even a series of recordings as part of the Library of Congress archives in the USA.

And an official site: