In 2008, producer Damon Aaron came bought a box of 7” reel tapes at an estate sale. What he found on them was field recordings of an ex-miner’s orchestra, mainly playing self-made instruments, from the early 1900s. This became the foundation of Contact Field Orchestra. The music has been likened to some sort of stoned union of Tom Waits and Augustus Pablo. Mapping The Futures Gone By is the fourth release by CFO and is on the Hit+Run label. CFO have appeared on Volume 10 of Giles Peterson’s Brownswood Bubblers series and also on Ninja Tune’s Solid Steel mix.
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- Mapping The Futures Gone By by Contact Field Orchestra
8/10 Laurie Staff review, 11 December 2015
Enter once again the Contact Field Orchestra and producer Damon Aaron’s junk gamelan, this time on some crazy olive green/black splattered 10” vinyl and CD. Aaron is still mining his inherited box of ex-miner field recordings from the early 1900s, which contains a massive plethora of pickaxe plonks. The last couple of CFO 12 inchers were pretty great, the frail rhythmic experiments clanking away like a convoy of desert wagons, so what’s different here?
Well it’s still great so no change there, and there seems to be a notable increase in the use of synthesised sounds as well as miniature acoustic ones, though still placed sparsely and not played at full blast. Preventing synthesists from getting carried away is one of the major barriers that modern society faces. You couldn’t try to compete with the other flavours on here though, the detailed clicks and knocks needing space to shine through the layered horns and strings that are peppered throughout. See ‘Sluice Box Tavern’ for a combination of all of the above, pivoting on a dusty plucked string thing that is once again as dry as a desert.
The tracks are mostly at a chill hip-hop/nu-jazz tempo that’s totally reminding me of Bonobo right now, if he was jamming with Tom Waits and Katie English aka Isnaj Dui. What a world that would be. Indeed, the orchestra flautist starts to toot on B1, bringing some sultry sunset vibes to the proverbial feast. As last time, the sleeve was screen printed by the LA Hit+Run crew, and they’ve done an excellent job.
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