Rhythm has always been central to Fell’s work, from his icy, repetitive minimalist excursions with SND to his legendary run of unashamedly funked abstract house experiments as Sensate Focus. Here, he continues to excavate that rich seam with an ongoing collaboration with Aussie percussionist Will Guthrie; “Diffractions” pushing both artists’ interests into sharper detail, toying with polyrhythms and unusual tuning to uncover a suite of transformative fidget spins and sonic storm clouds.
“Diffractions” features another two lengthy pieces of future-facing percussive abstractions that blur the line between synthetic and organic. Taking the influence of gamelan and fusing it with the heaving computer music that Fell has obsessively picked-at over the last four decades, the duo here zoom into a sound that’s almost effortlessly engaging; each piece is almost twenty minutes in length but they shift and mutate into polyrhythmic outer-realms and eerie universes of microtonality that are hard to fathom in one sitting.
There are trace echoes of free jazz hanging from the rafters, the post-everything clatter of Humcrush and Food drummer Thomas Strønen’s mind-expanding solo material or even Autechre at their most confounding. The genius here is that just when you convince yourself that this music could only possibly have been generated by a computer, Guthrie’s unmistakably human flex edges into focus - playing with your perception - your expectations - in the most bold, innovative way imaginable. Basically, this record fucking rules.
Mark Fell is a multidisciplinary artist based in Sheffield (UK). After studying experimental film and video art at Sheffield City Polytechnic he reverted to earlier interests in computational technology, music and synthetic sound. In 1998 he began a series of critically acclaimed record releases on labels including Mille Plateaux, Line, Editions Mego and Raster Noton. Fell is widely known for exploring the relationships between popular music styles, such as electronica and club musics, and typically academic approaches to computer-based composition with a particular emphasis on algorithmic and mathematical systems. Since his early electronic music pieces Fell’s practice has expanded to include moving image works, sound and light installation, choregoraphy, critical texts, curatorial projects and educational activites. He has worked with a number of artists including Yasunao Tone, Keith Fullerton Whitman, Okkyung Lee, Luke Fowler, Peter Gidal, John Chowning, Ernest Edmonds, Peter Rehberg, Oren Ambarchi and Carl Michael Von Hausswolff.
The diversity and importance of Fell's practice is reflected in the range and scale of international institutions that have presented his work which include - Hong Kong National Film archive, The Baltic (Gateshead), Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona, La Casa Encendida (Madrid), Laboral (XIxon), The Institute of Contemporary Art (London), Royal Festival Hall (London), The Serpentine (London), The Australian Centre For Moving Image, Artists Space (NYC), Issue Project Room (NYC), Corcoran (DC), Curtis R.Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (NY), Lampo/Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts (Chicago), Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie (Karlsruhe), Hanger Biccoca (Milan) and others. Fell's work is in the collection of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (Vienna) and has as been recognised by ARS Electronica (Linz).
Will Guthrie is an Australian drummer / percussionist living in France. He works in many different settings of music: live performance, improvisation and studio composition using various combinations of drums, percussion, objects, junk, amplification and electronics.
He plays solo and in various projects such as THE AMES ROOM, ELWOOD & GUTHRIE & THE SOMMES ENSEMBLE. His music has been released on labels such as Gaffer Records, Erstwhile, Clean Feed, 23five, Editions Mego, Ipecac and his own label Antboy Music.
Regular collaborators past and present include Oren Ambarchi, James Rushford, Jean-Luc Guionnet, Mark Fell, Roscoe Mitchell, Anthony Pateras, Chulki Hong, Jérôme Noetinger, Keith Rowe, David Maranha, Ava Mendoza, the film maker Hangjun Lee and choreographer/dancer Mette Ingvartsen.