For years, since going to Detroit to do some sound recording for The Unseen, a documentary low-lighting the underground hip hop producers working and engaging in that city, I’ve been processing ways to use rhythm in unconventional ways, to push the boundaries of what my ears will accept. I have sought to definitely not replicate in any sense the work of producers steeped in a geography, demography, and history that I have no space dallying in. What I’ve done is work through multichannel pieces of competing rhythms that don’t and are not meant to line up with each other. Eventually, your ear makes sense of it. The ear and the brain are pretty accepting. You don’t need to take an exacting, metronomic approach. You don’t even need to consider the idea of swinging. Some things swing so hard they’re not even in time anymore - and that’s okay.
So since then, I’ve been pushing the limits of my own understanding of rhythm, which is kind of great considering I used to write a lot of work dependent on loops that needed to be in exact time or else the whole thing was thrown off. But I am truly a deconstructionist at heart, despite any historic and futile attempts to reconstruct. Think about it: in life, you hear a car go by playing a thumping beat that takes over part of your consciousness for a moment and then you go back to the conversation you were having, the game you were playing or whatnot. So why not this in music? Flip, why not this in melodic music? You just gotta follow the old improviser’s promise: commit to what you’re doing and people will accept it.
Right now I’m continuing to work on song-pieces that incorporate a disregard for traditional meter. I think around the same time I discovered Dakim and Ras G, I realised I had a dreadful aversion to beautiful music. It has a lot to do with my general shame over beauty, my general shame that beauty can be used in such rough ways. I began to attempt to write material that was beautiful, and I succeeded. It became kind of achingly beautiful, scarily, so much to the point that I abandoned my beauty project.
If you were to crawl into my nighttime process-wakes, you’d hear pieces that are filled with layers of ethereal harmonies interrupted with sections of antithetical rhythm. Because the subject matter is really a juxtaposing of beauty with roughness, each kind of disregarding the other. You would also need to attempt to not be put off by my blatant disregard for the violent connotations of the samples I’ve used - field recordings from a certain festival at home. When I get to a point of open process, I'll share what I'm working on.