The blending of jazz and electronics has been one of the more difficult musical challenges, as it attempts to humanize the machine or mechanize the free spirit of improvisation. It's a very tricky balance to get right, as they can be on a collision course with each other.
British artist Robin Rimbaud traverses the experimental terrain between sound, space, image and form, creating absorbing, multi-layered sound pieces that twist technology in unconventional ways. From his early controversial work using found mobile phone conversations, through to his focus on trawling the hidden noise of the modern metropolis his restless explorations of the experimental terrain have won him international admiration from artists such as Bjork, Aphex Twin and Stockhausen.
As an electronic artist, he truly understands the broader cultural context from which he works.
On the jazz side we were looking for inspiration from a great seminal jazz ensemble. We all have the greatest respect for The Modern Jazz Quartet (MJQ) as their approach, musical language and inspired ideas are a permanent part of the lexicon of jazz. Within the Thirsty Ear family of artists on the Blue Series, we felt we could call forward the spirit of MJQ, with our own special twist.
So we got thinking; what if MJQ was reinvented for the 21st century but stayed true to its instrumental configuration and repurposed to deal with some post modern issues? As Scanner has collaborated with artists from every imaginable genre: musicians Bryan Ferry, Radiohead and Laurie Anderson, to The Royal Ballet, we thought what a perfect fit.
So we created a marriage between Scanner, whose landscapes affect a naturalist aesthetic and had him join forces with a quintessential jazz sound lead by Khan Jamal
on vibes and Matthew Shipp
on piano, Michael Bisio
on Bass, Michael Thompson
on drums: and thus the Post Modern Jazz Quartet (PMJQ) was born.
This project has been a unique starting point for me; a fresh look at a world of contemporary jazz playing that has in turn led to a fresh look back at my own ideas and approach."
The results are unparalleled. Scanner becomes part of the PMJQ, creating cinematic textures that take a familiar jazz quartet sound and transforms it into a modern day experience in this world of bits and bytes.
My approach was principally to set a foundation for the explosive playing and performances and remain faithful to the idea of improvisation so I frequently played within the recordings themselves, rarely retreating to tidying up and quantizing, a tricky balancing act to achieve indeed! I hope that these subtle interventions and playful twisting of the performances remain transparent so that listeners familiar with either the players work or my own, or ideally both, might reap pleasure and have an insight into the possible future of music."