‘Still Life With Sound‘ is the debut release by Melbourne based composer and multi-instrumentalist Tristan Coleman, brought into the world by cult East-London label Mystery Plays. The EP, a collection of four densely layered and intricate pieces, melds upfront rhythms and unique instrumentation with Coleman’s rich, soulful voice to create something truly other-worldly.
The simplistic ear worm brilliance of EP opener ‘Good Money‘; the chattering and bustling movement of ‘Rituals (Part 3)‘, an exotically jazzy 5 minutes of darkness; the eerie buzz and growl of ‘Precious Ghostly Metals‘; the wide-open, widescreen spaciness of EP closer ‘Bad Money‘ – this is music for a desert bar, a Dune-like sci-fi landscape.
Listening to these complex musical postcards (from a dark star), the sheer depth and genuine cleverness of arrangement shining through, it comes as no surprise to learn that Coleman is a classically trained composer and player, and one with a passion for Javanese music. Having honed his craft in Australia, Coleman’s interest in the music of South-east Asian music led him to Indonesia where he collaborated extensively with composers and performers from Yogyakarta, including a residency and performance tour of Java involving the creation of new works for Western and Indonesian traditional instruments combined with electronics. Combine this wealth of experience and musical adventure with a personal love for some of the worlds finest electronic music artists – notably Thom Yorke, Bjork, Twin Shadow and Flying Lotus – and the result is this brave and fascinating EP.
Coleman explains his musical tourism further;
“During my composition studies I took a subject in Balinese and Javanese Gamelan (Indonesian instrumental ensemble). The sonority of the ensemble, the tuning systems, the cyclical repetition punctuated by gongs, the ceremonial importance of the music all fascinated me…I am a composer and electronic musician, who is also schooled in acoustic composition, living in the Asia-Pacific in 2012. To me it seems obvious that as an artist this is the music I would be making”.
‘Still Life With Sound‘ sifts these worldly connections and sound collections through a mesh of contemporary music, mixing up the traditional and ancient with ‘living room music’-like percussion, travel diary field recordings, a love of asymmetry within symmetry, thick, melancholic vocals and the dark, dark hum of the souls engine room. This is an EP of unique and captivating music, a hybrid of pigeon-holes, and a sound totally off the map.
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