Formations 1
[ release ]

Drone painting screenshot

Today I released a new piece of music Formations 1. It’s an idea I’ve been turning over for a while now — what becomes of all the music that doesn’t seem to “fit” anywhere? What happens to the happy accidents?

formations: an act of giving form or shape to something or of taking form, development.

Formations 1 is a collection of recordings captured in my home studio sometime in late 2023 / early 2024. It sits in some liminal space between “jams” and a full release. I’ve been thinking about this space for some time now. With music, there’s so much pressure built up around album releases, EP launches, surprise single drops. Formations is a practice in finding a middle ground.

I try to play music, even if it’s just moving knobs, every day. And sometimes I stumble upon an idea that feels interesting enough to hit record. These recordings are often short, just enough time to capture a sonic snapshot of the moment.

The other day I was going through old recordings, searching for parts for an album I’m working on. I have a clear vision for this upcoming album, and established parts that will form the backbone. But some recordings felt totally foreign—I have no memory of how I created those sounds and I’m not sure if I could accurately recreate them now. They feel like ghosts of something, a snapshot in time.

As I listened to my archive I was reminded of Jim O’Rourke’s Steamroom recordings and it brought me to this quote from an old interview:

I don’t think I get an ounce of enjoyment from doing this whatsoever. Anybody who tells you they do is insane. But I’m trying to counteract my tendency to hide all that stuff. So occasionally I’ll find a tape after years of forgetting it even existed, and if I’m surprised by it — like, ‘Oh, that isn’t complete crap’ — then I’ll post it…I just have to make them. It’s like my oxygen.

Formations is in this same spirit. I have to make them, I naturally make them all the time. Small elements, modules of sound. Some parts will grow and mature into part of a song. But others won’t. It’s enough that they exist. And as I gear up for tracking a new album, which will be more of a traditional release, this felt like a good way to “counteract my tendency to hide”.

Adding “1” to the album title indicates my hope that this will be the start of a series of releases. Each time I catalog my recordings (every couple months, sometimes longer) I’ll try to release a new Formations of all the pieces that moved me somehow.

Production notes

All pieces on Formations 1 were recorded in a single take off of a 4 channel mixer. This eliminates the possibility of much post-production or editing. I added some effects to a few tracks and did some light mastering, but that’s it.

The instruments used on Formations 1 are hard to categorize, since it could be any number of synths in my studio, some of which I no longer own. A few incorporate generative sequencing scripts using a Monome Norns Shield.