Some esoteric grooves from Contact Field Orchestra. Vol. 2 is the second install of this series from the American producer. This one is a real blending of genres, cultures and ideas, with an eastern aesthetic meets western production. Full of traditional Asian instrumental sounds, gongs, windy bits and laid back beats - this one is a positive match. Out on vinyl LP from Hit + Run.
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- Vol. 2 by Contact Field Orchestra
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Just as us Brits grapple with the cliched north-south divide, the music world has to deal with even bigger stereotypes of the Western and the Eastern. To us living in the west, this no doubt stems from a journalist hearing something unfamiliar and slapping the “from somewhere far away” sticker right on it. It’s therefore no surprise to see this referred to as ‘Eastern’ simply because it has some weird plinky plonk percussion - it’s got to be Gamelan, right??
Well, actually this just sounds like knocking on things. Things that we’ll probably never identify because composer Damon Aaron has just whacked a contact mic onto his latest junkyard raid and written a little rhythm for it. Perhaps there’s some kalimba buried in there, but that’s not even eastern either. Anyway enough of that rant and more about the music. The various objects combine to make a sort of haggard percussion ensemble, with hypnotic melodies, usually plucked, stretched over some of the tracks. They could almost be instrumental hip hop grooves if they’d used an MPC orchestra, but the sound sources used give the music so much depth. The fact that they are played live brings a nice imperfect human edge too - a lot of these projects tend to involve just sampling one hit then arranging them in some rigid software.
For reference, see the Ski-A-Delics’ use of, well, skis for radical percussion, Hybernation’s ‘Object Studies’ and even Aphex Twin’s latest EP ‘Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt.2’, the similarities between the knocked objects there running right beside this.
It’s served in a beautiful card sleeve screenprinted by the HIT + RUN dons from LA, making the essential ‘wax seal’ that this needs. Some real classy banging on things.
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