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 ABOUT 

OUR BRUTALIST SOUNDS!

FIRST FRUITS

Driving through Eastern Washington one day I came upon this magnificent structure: a concrete grain elevator, standing stark and bold above a landscape void of trees and buildings. From the side of the road I couldn't help wondering if this huge tower would be considered brutalist architecture. So once home, I did the online search thing, and much to my surprise, and maybe yours also, the answer was a resounding "Yes"

Le Corbusier, famous in the world of architecture in the 20th Century, used a French term for raw concrete-"beton brut" from which the term "Brutalism" is derived. Moved by the massive cylindrical shapes of Buffalo's grain elevators, he termed them "The first fruits of the new age".

Reyner Banham, an architectural critic, famously coined the term "brutalism" in 1955. He was also greatly moved by the mighty silo. He labelled it a precursor to modernism, in "Modern Architecture" (1929), and described it as appearing "impermeable, secret and aloof". He likened its compound design to "an avenue of mighty tombs". Such structures were early influences in the shaping of the brutalist style.

That being known, I was moved to construct some musical concrete, which you can sample and download on the "Brutalist Music" page, and even labelled one of the pieces "Firstfruits"

PLEASANTLY UGLY

One of the things that struck me about the tower in my featured picture is that it's pleasantly ugly. I've been seeing one or two online sites lately dedicated to brutalism, suggesting that it's taking on too pretty a perception: give me ugly anytime. 

INSIDE: THE TOTAL PERSPECTIVE VORTEX! 

As I gazed on the brute I imagined much more. Housed inside that sensuously ugly colossus was none other than a device invented by the late and very great Douglas Adams, which he named the "Total Perspective Vortex". Entranced, I found myself somnambulating through the cathedral-esque entrance. It is larger even than it appears in this image.

When I became more lucid-far, far too lucid-I was inside not just a dark, cavernous space...but I was in space itself! There, in that place, and time, I saw, in one terrifying survey, how vast is of all creation; and in unbearable comparison, the total insignificance of self* 

MY MUSIC

I haven't always produced electronica: this particular genre grabbed me once I'd heard several nights of John Peel's radio in the U.K. Every twenty minutes or so he would play some outstanding techno or trance or experimental music, which greatly tickled my life-time desire to create and experiment in my own way. For this reason my music is partly dedicated to John, who I came to see as a friend. 

Electronic music is limiting in some respects, but provides almost endless possibilities in composition, and it's amazing what you can do with one instrument. Most of the two albums presented here were produced with a hard Roland Fantom synth and pro recording and mastering software. Apologies and thanks to my wife and sons for all the time I was in my studio and not with them as I probably should have been.

I'm a bass player, and could easily bore you with a list of my modest playing achievements, some professional, some semi-professional, and some decidedly amateur. You can hear some of my playing on the Jazz page. Any future productions from myself or/and Nathan will be shared here.

In addition to being a music lover, I'm a lover of certain art styles, and I'll be commenting on some of those as time goes on in the pages of the blog. 

Sample the music on the "Brutalist Music" page, download the tracks you like, read the blog, and please feel free to comment and contribute. 

Regards, Nick.

* (Okay, so this was hyperbole: I do believe that each human has significance).