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Keyboard Choir Q&A, Free Download
The Quietus , June 3rd, 2009 13:18

Electronic group release free EP this week

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The excellent boys of the Keyboard Choir are riding for a web 2.0 bomb this week as they release new EP Electrical Unity.

You can download the EP for free from Last.fm, and visit the Independent online for a daily blog from the band.

We decided to keep things traditional, and ask them a few questions about the EP, and this is what transpired:

(Answers from Keyboard Choristers Adrian Wardle, James Cunning and Sebastian Reynolds)

AW: "We've written and recorded a lot of new material since we finished Mizen Head. This EP is a great opportunity to get some of this out in front of people. It's also good to get a couple of live recordings out – some of the tunes, such as Bugs, are noticeably more powerful when we play them live."

JC: "We're releasing one of our favourite tracks from our debut record as a standalone digital EP with a few new pieces, and a couple of odds and ends live tracks. Really wanted to give Electrical Unity the attention it deserves, as the 14 minute album version often gets ignored being tucked away at the end of the album."

SR: "I think there's a really interesting mix of improvisation (Transine), live tracks (Bugs and Electrical Unity from Cargo) and studio compositions (Tokyo At Night and Stagger). It's a neat little presentation of us in all our various guises. Except the bangers. We've got some ravey stuff that I'm itching to lay down.... Watch this space."

Is there a concept / what is the thinking behind the title Electrical Unity?

AW: "It's a bit geeky really; It started from the idea of unity gain, which is a sound engineering term relating to having consistent levels on a mixing desk. But it's mutated to be about the all the electronic devices in the world going over a tipping point of interconnectivity and developing a mass collective intelligence. The machines will take over when we're gone. Or maybe the insects."

SR: "For me the actual motivating forces that led to my contributions to the composition of Electrical Unity are way personal. I wouldn't want to go into too much detail, but I guess, without wanting to sound naff, it relates to the tag on the album artwork... 'Flying In The Face Of Hope And Despair'. It's about hope in the most terribly bleakest of times... An outstretched hand..."

Did you want to unleash it from the constraints of Mizen Head To Gascanane Sound?

AW: "Mizen Head is very much meant to be listened to as an album rather than as individual tracks – this is both on a conceptual level and a practical level, with most of the tracks segueing into each other. With the EP, we had the freedom to approach each track as a separate, but still connected, entity."

JC: "Yeah, I think in a way I personally did. The track, as I mentioned, is tucked away at the end. Maybe 'tucked away' is the wrong expression to use but it's the climax, probably the last thing anyone who bought the album would hear. By giving it some of its own space we're opening it up to a new audience- I think it's probably the best introduction to Keyboard Choir, in many ways it's our most typical song."

SR: "I agree with what the other guys have said, it's an amazing track. John Brainlove (label guru), along with James really pushed for this to be the lead track on a new EP and the material we've been producing recently really fitted with it. People seem to connect with it."

Can you tell us a bit about the rest of the tracks?

JC: "Don't want to ruin the blog, but the three new ones are all lovely. Two of the tracks ('Transine' and 'Tokyo at Night') favour a more organic approace, while 'Stagger' ploughs the same furrow as 'Electrical Unity' - albeit in a much more claustrophobic mood. I really enjoyed creating the likes of 'Transine' as it was the first time the band actively felt like a real 'choir'. Almost complete improvisation."

AW: "'Transine' is all about the textures, a giant, yearning, electronic sob."

SR: "'Stagger' is my personal fave. The drum beats in the first section are made from random samples taken from some natural world DVD (thanks Bahram!). Explosions, lightening bolts etc. The operatic sample was also something we'd tried using in a track that didn't quite work ('In The Heart Of The Sea'). I'm really pleased that we managed to make use of those sounds. For me it's a really important part of our production process, using interesting found sounds and happy accidents that happen when one is playing around in the studio. There's more to life than 808s! Also, the general atmosphere and tonality of the piece is really cool. Bleak, but in some way hopeful."

Why give it away free?

AW: "Because the distribution company Brainlove used went bankrupt, there was a huge delay between the initial reviews of Mizen Head and it being available to buy. With the EP we hope to re-raise the profile of Mizen Head and, more importantly, give something back to those who've had to wait so long to buy it."

SR: "It's also a massive thank you to everyone who has supported us in the time we've been together (of which there are more than I could possibly mention). Alongside this, with the support of our partners in this (last.fm, Brainlove and Independent Online), we've got the chance to take a record we really believe in to a new and (hopefully) interested audience."

What context are you hoping to add with the blogging?

JC: "Personally, I hope to be able to explain many of the reasons the group exists, and offer a bit of an insight into how we do things- it's pretty unique, the way Keyboard Choir go about things, and I think it could be quite interesting for people to find out."

SR: "We can also show pictures and tell jokes. Guy is away traveling but we are waiting for a carrier pigeon from Kuala Lumpur... I look forward to hearing from him... He might be able to shed some light on where he finds all those Klaxon samples."

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