Premiere: 404’s ‘Fearful’ makes use of the British Transport Police’s surveillance slogan
Harmonizer are synth artists Greg Davis who runs Autumn Records and Toby Aronson of NNA Tapes. Having released a self-titled cassette on NNA Tapes at the end of last year, they’ve now found a very fitting home with Joel Ford and Daniel Lopatin’s Software label. The ‘World Complete’ EP is an overwhelming listen; it creeps up on you like the tide – slowly, stealthily – and then suddenly you realise you’re submerged, drifting deep. They take the possibilities of the synth and stretch them across the globe, catching threads from many different world musics (via “obscure field recordings,” says Davis) and stitching them into their flow in a way, it’s been noted, that recalls composer John Hassell. “It’s no secret we are inspired by Jon Hassell. His music is amazing!” said Davis in a recent comment on Altered Zones, before going on to list other inspirations including Peter Gabriel, Miles Davis, Brian Eno, African jams and Indian classical music. ‘World Complete’ is about as open a record as any ears will hear this year, wide open and awed. Handclaps fall in and out of time in Derdeba, creating a tense energy that builds throughout the rest of the EP to heady tribal ecstasy in final track World Complete before releasing the moment into an awakening echo.
How did Harmonizer come to be?
Harmonizer grew out of us playing music as a duo in Burlington, Vermont over the past few years. We used to experiment with a bunch of different approaches (tape collage, noise, field recordings, synth music, etc) but eventually we settled into a very special zone. Once we landed there, our sound & concept solidified and we became Harmonizer.
‘World Complete’ is an incredibly heavy EP. Was it made using improvisation and did you have to get in a particular frame of mind to make it?
We did some jamming & playing together last year to generate some ideas and material for our record. We recorded some demos & sketches and then we refined & shaped those pieces further leading up to the recording session. There was virtually no jamming or improvisation when we recorded at the Software studio in Brooklyn back in April 2011. We only had a couple of days to record the EP so we were very prepared ahead of time. We knew exactly which pieces we wanted to record and had it all composed and all the parts were mostly mapped out ahead of time. We had a couple of days of intense recording and tracking in Brooklyn and then spent several months back in Burlington sculpting the record and dialing in the perfect mixes of each piece. The frame of mind was to create a strongly realized and well-crafted electronic music record.
What is your idea of a complete world?
When all of the songs were finished, we deeply felt the vibe of each song to come up with an appropriate title. We liked the way the phrase ‘world complete’ sounded. It has a very open meaning but we think it represents an idea of global unity. A complete world accepts everything as it is (including good / bad / happy / sad & every other shade of vibe). The world is an ever-changing process which remains complete in every moment.