PAUL OBERMAYER, DAVID ROSS – electronics
For our second release Sound Anatomy are delighted to present Time Probe, the debut recording from two of London’s most creative musicians. Paul Obermayer and David Ross have been persistently inventive forces in the city’s musical underground for the last two decades and more.
Time Probe is a nine-part suite of unedited excerpts from a single recording session using two self-designed instruments: Paul Obermayer’s POlymod, a Max MSP based polyphonic sample modulator, and David Ross’s Davestation, a hardware based control voltage time modulator. The title of the recording obliquely refers to news of NASA’s space probe arriving at Pluto that same week, and also to Sun Ra’s Space Probe (1974), especially the 18 minute Moog solo title track.
This is very "electronic" music made with bold and tactile gestures. Modulated textures of glistening purity are cut with moments of startling distortion and decay, and dissolve into voids of ambiguous darkness and silence. For all its physicality, a sense of otherworldliness seems to haunt these sounds, which avoid obvious reference points yet are unafraid to travel into spheres of abstract and galactic funkiness when the moment demands it. The listener senses there is nowhere to hide; nothing is looped or layered or consolidated into the lazy, the relaxing or the familiar. Cliché is eschewed in favour of a constant sense of questioning and mystery, making the clear shapes that emerge all the more astonishing.
Paul Obermayer is most well known as half of the electronic duo FURT (with Richard Barrett), as a member of the mighty BARK! trio and as a long time participant in Evan Parker’s Electroacoustic Ensemble. Before the era when experimental laptop musicians flooded the stage, Obermayer was one of the few to pioneer the sampler as a feasible instrument for performance and free improvisation. He helped show that live electronics could coexist and compete with acoustic instruments, harnessing new digital tools and helping to introduce a new physicality, responsiveness and sense of infinite invention to live electronics. As this album shows, he remains one of its most accomplished and enthralling exponents. Paul has released music on Bruce’s Fingers, ECM, Foghorn, JdK, Matchless, psi, Treader, Unsounds and X-OR.
David Ross is a restless and unconventional multi-instrumentalist who brings an intensely musical quality to every instrument he touches. For the past 25 years Ross has played drums, kalimba, Jew’s harps, kantele and electronics in a series of quietly eccentric groups such as The Kenny Process Team, The Happy Couple and Twinkle³, navigating the margins and crossing points between many different musical idioms, including folk, post-rock, electroacoustic composition and free improvisation. In recent years he has become increasingly absorbed in analogue electronics as a member of Grutronic, who made two superb albums for Evan Parker’s psi label, and through a long-running series of musical projects with Clive Bell and Richard Scott. The Davestation is an electronic instrument he has honed over several years, morphed from his earlier instrument the Drossillator and specifically designed for real time composition. Ross remains perhaps the only musician to have composed an album entirely using an analogue synthesizer built into a kettle. David has released music on Hemiola, Bingo, Sonic Arts Network, Barley Wheel, psi, Metier Jazz, Ini itu, Cusp Editions, Game of Life and Functional Electric.