Modular Cowboy: Jay Ahern and Morgan Packard
Yesterday, we had the first release on new label Modular Cowboy. Today, a preview of the second release – the very techno Mesa Sequences – due in September and which also comes as an app.
I won’t pretend I understand the app, which is described below. So, let’s focus on the music. Mesa Sequences is an improvised piece. Often a cover for something pointless and meandering, which the producers enjoyed doing far more than the listeners. Mesa Sequence is certainly long, at over 25 minutes but has a structure and a purpose. Has a very old school acid techno intro. The second part brings in some echoed tom tom as the tune continues to twist and writhe in the background. The third movement goes all spacey and more ‘out there’. The fourth and fifth movements focuses down on the beats for the serious grooving part, before the sixth takes things back a bit with a stronger dub feel to the close. Interesting listening.
Blurb: Mesa Sequences is a live improvisational piece recorded in New Mexico, inspired by underground electronic music events happening in and around Sante Fe. The performance captures realtime musical dialogue between Jay Ahern (vintage electronics) and Morgan Packard (DIY software), interacting with their “musical tools,” while creating a beat-driven soundscape for an audience of dancers engulfed in the surreal landscape – a far cry from the atmosphere of traditional electronic music venues. While no microphones were used to record the audience, thus maintaining a studio quality to the recordings, the presence of the crowd can be felt in the impact of the music, inspiring its movements. The 25-minute Mesa Sequences piece contains a number of movements that flow uninterrupted in the digital format and across two sides on the limited edition vinyl pressing that also has cue points for DJs and listeners alike. Mesa Sequences is set for release through Hard Wax -http://www.modularcowboy.com/releases/mesa-sequences-ep
The app, designed by Morgan Packard, allows anyone with an Apple iPhone or iPad to creatively engage with a selection of techno loops from the corresponding audio release to create and output their own mix ofMesa Sequences. Through an elegant interface, featuring stunning landscape photography by visual artistMaike Verloh, app users scroll through beat-synchronized loops from the Mesa Sequences EP, set against imagery of the high desert in the American Southwest, where the piece was conceived. A step sequencer, controlled by the user, allows for creative exploration; as users traverse the audio landscape, they add their own musical footprints. Patterns created with this step sequencer can then be shared to a community server from within the app. From this shared area, users can download and modify one another’s creations. Synth sliders control pitch, duration and modulation. The whole experience allows the user to engage with the improvisational nature of the piece as well as the stark beauty of the environment, which informed the music. Additionally, audio output functionality allows users to record their own high quality version of Mesa Sequences for use outside the app environment, such as iPods, online sharing, or mixing into DJ sets. Available through iTunes in September 2012, the Mesa Sequencer app will be free for a limited amount of time -http://www.modularcowboy.com/releases/mesa-sequencer-app.
Release/catalogue number: sand002