Nous Alpha is comprised of Christopher Bono (Ghost Against Ghost, Bardo, Nous) and producer Gareth Jones (Spiritual Friendship, Grizzly Bear, Depeche Mode, WIRE). The Full-length is due out on May 7th, 2021 via Our Silent Canvas.
The duo is a partnership almost five years in the making, beginning when Christopher asked Gareth to help mix two tracks for his project Ghost Against Ghost in 2015. “It was a huge task,” recalls Gareth, “but out of that intense experience Chris and I forged a spiritual bond and a musical relationship.” “Fibonacci Failure” is the first single from the upcoming album, The accompanied video is directed by Australian composer and AV artist Ben Heim, who says “every visual element takes an audio input as its source: sustain synth lines generate color clouds, shorter stabs generate expanding mushroom-like structures, while percussive hits serve to illuminate different areas of the scene”.
From the beginning, it was agreed that they would always work together in person, eschewing the obvious convenience of distance collaboration between New York and London. The 2019 album ‘Without Falsehood’ was formed from a series of “duet improvisations,” governed by a constraint that any further contribution needed to be a second duet improvisation, resulting in a suite of layered, and yet uncluttered, tracks. For ‘A Walk In The Woods’ though, they set themselves different constraints.
“We had some specific ideas about this second album,” says Christopher. “We decided we’d work on a tempo grid this time around, rather than being so very freeform in our approach, and that we’d limit the length of the songs.” Working this way made the sessions for ‘A Walk In The Woods’ more electronic than its predecessor. Where ‘Without Falsehood’ used acoustic textures and familiar instrumentation, ‘A Walk In The Woods’ abandons those elements and adds synth passages, evolving melodies and skeletal, hypnotic rhythms.
Naturalistic elements, used as the basis of what could be called organic improvisation, were created by performing with found objects in the dense woods of the nearby Catskill Mountains, and the outbuildings around the studio. These foraged fragments form the seeds from which each track grew.
Christopher describes the track further: ““Fibonacci Failure” was built off a rhythm we derived while jamming in the woods with a couple branches on a large oak tree, which was one of our recorded samples. We began experimenting with a rhythm based off the Fibonacci mathematical series, however after we had built up the arrangement in the studio from this raw woods groove, we realized we’d made a mistake in the counting of the rhythmic meter and therefore the rhythm wasn’t a pure fibonacci series. Thus the title.”
If their walks in the nearby woods provided the impetus for the tracks, the trees surrounding the studio also supplied the duo with a means of escape from cabin fever. “We developed a ritual,” remembers Gareth. “We had a gong hanging up in the studio, and when either of us felt it was necessary we would go and bang the gong. That meant we’d either sit and meditate or go on a circular walking meditation through the trees around the studio building. We would walk, stop, contemplate and breathe. It was the most positive and creative way to reconnect.”
This sense of spirituality is another critical ingredient in how ‘A Walk In The Woods’ evolved. “I see it as our own version of shamanism,” says Christopher. “There was a definite trance state that happened within the studio space while we were creating, and this offered an opportunity for transformation. Channeling that energy became critical to what happened on this album.”
A Walk In the Woods
Our Silent Canvas
pre-order A Walk In the Woods HERE
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