Michael Nyman and David McAlmont - Secrets, Accusations and Charges (Max Cooper Reconstruction).
Directed: Nick Cobby.
This remix marks the first time multi-million selling minimalist soundtrack composer Michael Nyman (The Piano; Gattaca; The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover) has allowed his work to be remixed. The "Reconstructions EP" is out on Last Night on Earth Recordings 9 July.
For the video, animator and director Nick Cobby wanted to add a human element to his visuals for the first time, asking Max Cooper fans to come down to his London studio to be filmed.
"After listening to the track, I was aware of how important the vocal element is in the track, which added an emotional and human element alongside Max's sonic soundscapes. I knew that i wanted to include real people for the first time, but i wanted to change their appearance; making them something more animated and kinetic, and therefore bring them into Max's world."
Each participant was filmed individually, concentrating on their facial expressions and head movements. Incorporating Kinect camera technology, depth data captured by the Kinect was used to create 3d point data of the individuals filmed. This 3d map was then reconstructed to re-create the participants, utilising code and creative technology to create a generative outcome.
The Reconstructions EP comprises two Max Cooper reworks – one abstract, one dancefloor - of Secrets, Accusations and Charges, Nyman's collaboration with the songwriter and vocalist David McAlmont.
The song first appeared on Nyman and McAlmont's album, The Glare. It places McAlmont’s lyrics, inspired by a newspaper story about a quiet suburban Scottish woman who was discovered to be a jewel thief, over Nyman’s theme for the film Gattaca.
As the Gattaca theme is an orchestral piece, both the Deconstruction and Reconstruction are built from samples of only two soundfiles: a track of McAlmont’s voice, and a single track of The Michael Nyman Ensemble playing the Gattaca theme.
Many thanks to all who participated and made the video (and reworks) possible.
This track and video are about emergence from the combination of polar opposites. Fragments of self from very different places, but part of the same whole. Soft vs jagged, quiet vs loud, beautiful vs horrible, smooth vs abrasive, natural vs unnatural....you get the idea.
Combining classical and computational elements is something I've been experimenting with for some years, but this attempt to combine the extreme opposites of each was spurred on by some chance DJing experiments, a fortuitous collaboration opportunity, and the amazing work of my friends Olafur Arnalds and Vaetxh (Rob Clouth). I found that I could mix the most beautiful and delicate piano solo of Olafur, with the most hyper-edited and jarring glitch of Vaetxh, and that the result actually worked, well, for me anyway, even if half the people in the club stood confused about how to dance. So when the opportunity arose to work with the pianist and composer Tom Hodge, I wanted to try and create this form of merger of extremes for a release, rather than it being confined to my DJ toolbox (also on the classical meets glitch history from a slightly different angle, check out "Rossz Csillag Alatt Született" from Venetian Snares 2005!).
After some discussion of ideas and approach with Tom, he sat and played and made some recordings for me, which I then chopped and build chords and structure around, sent them back to him to play over the top of again, and then back to me to edit and glitch the playing along with the nasty noises. My detailing process was that of finding some interesting sound sources (binaural recordings, drum hit samples, clangs and slams etc) and using some Max for live randomisation chains to generate lots of partially random complexity which I could then edit as audio before repeating the process with additional layers, eventually bringing the recorded piano audio in to the editing too.
At completion of the audio I was really happy to find out that Nick Cobby, one of my favourite video artists and long standing collaborator, was available and interested in working on the visual side of the project. He took the combination of seemingly incompatible opposites, and applied it visually with his beautiful generative forms, smooth and organic for the melodic sections, and jagged and abrasive for the percussive sections - big thanks to Nick for his amazing work as always!
So, that's probably enough ranting about this track from me, aside from why it is like it is, I hope it's something that you can enjoy irrespective of the conceptual faff.