RTCD20 - Fergus Kelly: Swarm Logic





This 44' album was built around edits of music from the areas of post-punk, 60s jazz, contemporary classical, soundtrack, dub reggae, and 90s trip-hop and electronica, to which I've added bass and percussion. My methodology follows that used in my post-punk tribute piece Dirt Behind The Daydream (2021). The difference being the addition of my own playing to the mix. 


Thinking about that tribute last year, I wondered what it might be like to compose an album's worth of pieces in the same vein. After making a large cache of edits, and drawing from used and unused edits from Dirt Behind The Daydream, I began assembling the music with no preconceived plan, other than to combine material and see where it lead me, letting the working process suggest ways forward. Often, listening to music at home, certain moments stood out as potentially useful and I made more edits and stitched these into the evolving work, using them as either initial springboards or further elements to flesh out existing tracks. 


Many analogies can be used to describe the compositional process, from painting and sculpting to cooking and gardening. But I prefer a surgical analogy, where material is deftly grafted from various sources and painstakingly sutured into new combinations, with rough edges smoothed out and finessed. The music takes on a new life that moves mellifluously through a series of disparate moments and acoustic spaces which are further unified with live playing. The source materials interconnect and refract off each other in a psychedelic series of associations and memory triggers, propelled through sympathetic melodies, matched tempos and dynamic shifts. 


The track titles are derived from the source material, using an anagram process to create a series of words and phrases which are then further edited and recombined or partially stripped. Sometimes this process suggests other words and phrases not connected with the original deck-shuffling of the source material. The conjugation of source material and its various cross-hatchings and combinations is such that it would be impossible to reverse-engineer the titles to arrive back at the original sources. Not that it matters anyway. It's merely a way of generating titles/identities organically from source, whilst forming suggestive portals into imaginative spaces and readings. 



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