SIMON JAMES is a self-trained musician, producer and sound designer based in Brighton, UK, who’s work combines electronic sources such as the Buchla Electric Music Box (a self-contained electronic instrument) with a mixture of field recording techniques and sound treatments, using sound to transport the listener to fantastical audio worlds, where the lines between the sonic, physical, historical and mythical are often blurred, the ultimate aim being deep immersion and escape.
Having previously released music on Death Waltz Records (Black Channels) and in collaboration with DJ Format (Simonsound - Reverse Engineering), in "Space No Space", Simons third solo work under his own name, we find his ear for cinematic scope, mood and sound applied with a subtle and minimal restraint via 14 improvisations using only two sound sources, a Buchla Electric Music Box 200e System and a Ciat Lombarde Cocoquantus, a boutique “cosmic looper”. Through these one take improvised recordings, James has created an audio landscape of imaginary places inhabited with intricate haunting sound design, of which it’s spontaneity gives a warm organic life.
An escapist thread runs throughout the album, escape to space, inner space, imaginary places and dimensions, but more than anything these beautiful sparks of melancholy wonder float us into a guided exploration inwardly and reflectively with a sound world as alien as it is familiar.
In the artists own words:
“The struggle to find space has led to a desire for more space in my music. A shift from my usual approach of building layer upon layer of sounds and spending forever tweaking and mixing, in a never ending process attempting to make the music sound better, that usually results in all the life being sucked out. With so many buttons to press, dials to turn and switches to flick, there is a compulsion to constantly change sound instead of letting it breathe and exist as it is. Resisting this is an ongoing process for me.
Like many musicians and artists, the creative process is a way for me to escape, but that secondary or subconscious mental health benefit is now more overt and I find myself embracing the creative process as a form of therapy.
The spacious music that has come from this new approach use only 2 sources of sound. The Buchla 200e Electric Music Box and Ciat Lombarde Cocoquantus. These instruments have minds of their own and there are many moments on this album where they are doing the thinking, and I’m happy to relinquish control and let them lead me wherever they want to go.
All tracks were recorded in one take with only minimal editing.
I would encourage listening whilst travelling, daydreaming on a train, gazing out of an aeroplane window, lying in a tent in a forest and whilst drifting off to sleep. Who knows where your dreams and travels might take you?”
Physical copies are realised on professional high quality dubbed C60 cassette, with on body print, full colour four page double sided inlay, and as ever, acetate Golden Ratio Spiral. Available for Pre-order June 17th, releases and ships July 1st.
released July 1, 2019
Music improvised, peformed and recorded in single takes by Simon James, using Buchla Music 200e Music Box and Ciat Lonbarde Cocoquantus in Brighton, UK, during 2017.
Photography - Curtis James
Front Image - Grafton Architects
Design - AP Macarte