London based electronic producer Guy Andrews has announced the release of a new album which follows 2017’s Take. Permanence will be out on September 16th September via British independent imprint Houndstooth (Akkord, Throwing Snow, Soft as Snow, Aisha Devi). It will be followed by an ambient counterpart [MT][NT][ET] on November 11th, with a further release of remixes by Kevin Drumm to follow early in 2021.
According to the press release, Permanence is the evolution of his sonic storytelling, going deeper into Guy’s subconscious mind and exploring his own genius loci or spirit of place. Permanence is part of a personal evolution and realisation of what is important to Guy, discovering that making music as a means of creative expression is far more meaningful than simply succumbing to an internal pressure or to the commercialisation of being creative.
On Permanence, Guy pushes his creativity out of its comfort zone leveraging sound design with composition to further express his own ‘language’ of textures (rather than lyrics and melody) to articulate feelings and to process life experiences. Every layer of sound carries purpose and meaning. The resulting record is an autobiographical stream of consciousness designed to be listened to as one continuous long-playing piece of textural music, and for the audience to draw their own sense of meaning.
Guy explains “Permanence is a body of work inspired by and written during a period of positive personal growth, as much as it is of loss and grief. It is a body of work that symbolises and articulates the constant evolution of relationships, people and places, that are essentially non-permanent fixtures, but can amalgamate to form a wider sense of permanence in life. The concept of change is significant here, in that, permanence can be a dynamic framework that change can operate within.”
He continues “the messages and meanings behind the works were fine-drawn into the music. I slowly came to realise that these sonic textures I had been creating in adult life circled back to me expressing myself as a young child. I would sit at my late father’s piano – the instrument he’d play in the room below to aid me to sleep at night – and press the keys to try and articulate textures, shapes and colours through self-expression. I recognise now that I was trying to communicate and reconnect with him, the people around me, and the emotions I was feeling, which I couldn’t quite express with words at the time.”
Check the first excerpt “Twenty Seven Inches Of Mercury” and read our talk with the artist who details the new track, the new approach to composition, the concept of soundscape and much more below.
“Twenty Seven Inches Of Mercury “ is your first composition since 2017’s “Take”. It was written during Storm Dennis in February 2020 and it allowed you to explore a new approach to composition, right?
I had been writing almost constantly since my previous album, but it took a while to select the right compositions to share – and throughout the process the writing naturally evolved to become more connected to what was going on around me.
The idea came to me to use a field recording in its original form and then analyse it to extract what can almost be described as a sonic fingerprint – which is then reprinted in the composition and applied to either a specific element/sound or a cluster of elements. The key element to the process is that I’m not using the field recording as a sample to compose with, rather using the DNA of the field recording to define the composition.
Your music has different souls and shades, but the concept of soundscape seems to have an important role. What is your concept of soundscape and how the visual part affects your way to think music?
The focus within my work is to create environments for sounds to evolve – in which there’s space for something I can’t predict to develop. A lot of it is creating the right conditions within the composition for this to happen. I only bring in more traditional music composition techniques briefly in order to grow the core sounds, then they’re contorted by further audio processing.
This often results in something very textual sounding, with sonic shapes and colours forming as the definition of the source material becomes blurred. The instruction to the listener in terms of how to think and feel is purposefully removed and left up to interpretation. I think it’s at this point where my own mind tries to imagine a visual element to it as it tries to figure out how the sounds now relate to physical reality, but as they’re often so far removed from anything imaginable I end up visualising shades and textures.
When I collaborate with a visual artist I’ll talk with them at length about this approach, so I end up with more of a response to my work from them via their own artistic medium, which will then be used for the artwork.
You are from London. I’m very interested to the connection between the places we live over the years, the territorial geography of our roots and the art. How do you feel these theme connected to your music, your way to think music? What are your favorite places which inspired the most?
I think about this a lot. Originally, I grew up in a seaside town on the south coast of the UK, and have gradually moved more inland, away from the sea. At one point I would pin a lot of my creativity on being close to the sea – being right on the southern edge of the country with the downs to the north blocking out what’s beyond. However, now I feel more inspired when inland – where the view south is now the northern side of the downs, which block the view towards the sea. The vast vacancy that the sea brought has been replaced with a lot of smaller scale sources of inspiration – instead of visiting the sea, I’ll find a stream, forest or a hill to explore. The experiences are perhaps smaller in scale, but more frequent and diverse, and this feeds directly into what I have to write about.
How are you living these strange times and what are the main concerns as an artist?
I immediately concluded that the pandemic wasn’t an event in which I felt comfortable trying to construct some kind of artistic response – let alone share it with anyone. I am mainly mindful of artists and industry members who had their primary focus on generating income from live shows as this has been a tough time for them.
The destruction of certain elements of the artistic industries really highlighted to me that some things were operating on a level that led artists to have a false sense of security. We should be building platforms and opportunities that nurture talent in a stable and supportive environment, rather than extracting as much financial profit as possible.
The best I could do was to proactively open up conversations with the creatives I’m close to, as I feel this has been (and still is) a time to share skills, ideas and support.
Ritual question. Have you seen or heard anything good recently?
I have been listening to talk radio stations pretty much constantly for the past few months. It’s interesting to hear the general debate at the moment.
Check the artwork of the new album below.