Rift Patterns

Monty Adkins

Monty Adkins is a composer and performer of experimental electronic music. His music is characterised by slow shifting organic textures often derived from processed instrumental sounds and found sounds. Inhabiting a post-acousmatic sensibility, his work draws together elements from ambient, acousmatic and microsound music into a richly melodic and harmonic tapestry. Adkins has worked collaboratively on a number of audio-visual projects and Rift Patterns is the natural extension of this work. He has recently released tracks on the Silent Howl and Cronica labels. This is his third album for Audiobulb.

Rift Patterns

Rift Patterns is about the psychogeographical exploration of places and how they impact on our identity and feelings. Psychogeography has historically been associated with the exploration of our cities and the 'drift', and has been described by Joseph Hart as "a whole toy box full of playful, inventive strategies for exploring cities... just about anything that takes pedestrians off their predictable paths and jolts them into a new awareness of the urban landscape". In Rift Patterns, Adkins continues the drift from the city, into the country and into our inner world of thoughts and relationships. Following on from Adkins’ previous albums on Audiobulb there is a delicate balance between abstract electronic sound and melody. On this album he uses found objects from the many locations visited, placed in the piano to prepare the strings and produce strange sonorities.

Enhanced Versions with Interactive iBook: As the music was being completed Adkins invited the writer Deborah Templeton, video artist Jason Payne and photographer and graphic designer Stephen Harvey to respond in their own way to the music, the ideas behind it and each other’s work. The result is an interactive iBook containing music, text, moving image photography and film. This will be distributed to customers purchasing the enhanced 16bit or 24bit digital download versions from www.audiobulb.com

Credits: Cover image, photography, iBook design and production: Stephen Harvey. Text: Deborah Templeton. Video: Jason Payne. Mastering: Dominique Bassal.

AB051 | April 2014

Reviews

  1. Chain D.L.K.

    A couple of weeks ago, we introduced the enchanting suite "Residual Forms" - you can download it for free on Cronica website - by the appreciated composer Monty Adkins, whose sonic poetics has heavily influenced by the experimental method of investigation around urban environments, known as psychogeography, which was originally developed by Lettrism and precisely defined by Guy Debord as "the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, whether consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behaviour of individuals".

    On this new album for British label Audiobulb, who seems to prefer the definition that Wisconsin-based freelance writer and musician Joseph Hart gave on an article for Utne Reader ("'a whole toy box full of playful, inventive strategies for exploring cities '¦ just about anything that takes pedestrians off their predictable paths and jolts them into a new awareness of the urban landscape.'), Professor Monty keeps on focusing on "derive" or "drift", the main technique of "psychogeographists", by unrolling deeply emotional clumps of electric interferences, organic clusters, warm and sometimes gloomy piano melodies, tonal dissipations and smudges over eight intense tracks which seems to draw an arc-shaped emotional blueprint from the opening "Tender Light Rising" to the final "Tender Light Falling" where listeners could costrue as a proper soulmapping rather than a psychogeographic implementation.

    Monty decided to making this album more meaningful by dragging the writer Deborah Templeton, video artist Jason Payne and photographer and graphic designer Stephen Harvey in and their collaborative feedback/back-propagations to Monty's music resulted into an amazing interactive iBook which is going to be sold together with the enhanced 16bit or 24bit digital versions of the release.

  2. The Wire

    Monty Adkins steps his music into an imagined version of the real world. Rift Patterns is available as a download and as an illustrated book on iPad, and something about it kept drawing me back. Adkins relies on simple (but not simplistic) harmonic patterns which get smutched and stretched as they are walked towards new terrain, and uses objects found in urban and rural locations to vibrate against piano strings. These vignettes are admittedly pretty, like postcards disinclined to drift too far towards the sonic edge.

  3. 5 Against 4

    Huddersfield-based composer Monty Adkins is having a good year. In addition to a very interesting recent EP
    Residual Forms (available free from Crónica), the last couple of weeks have seen the release of Adkins’ latest
    album, a substantial work titled Rift Patterns, out on the splendid Audiobulb label. Concerned with (in the composer’s words) “the psychogeographical exploration of places and how they impact on our identity and
    feelings”,

    Rift Patterns can be approached from a variety of angles, existing as it does in the form of an iBook,
    which incorporates extensive text (by writer Deborah Templeton), images (by all-round creative Stephen Harvey) & video (by artist Jason Payne). The iBook—available only with the lossless 16- & 24-bit editions direct from the label—is an undeniable thing of beauty (see screenshots below), Templeton’s narrative encompassing both tension & quietude, reinforced by Harvey’s images reflecting both the pastoral & the industrial.

    The iBook certainly deepens the experience considerably, but Adkins’ music communicates just as well—perhaps best— on its own terms. The eight tracks that comprise Rift Patterns are, as one would expect, a masterclass in electronic elegance. There is, as always, a huge amount going on in the music, emanating from a host of impulses & inspirations, but surely what defines Adkins’ music above all else is its peerless beauty.

    I used to think of it as the great hope for the stultifying world of ambient music, but listening to Rift Patterns makes
    me realise that this is post-ambient, music that captures everything that once made ambient music wonderful, but
    fills it with much, much more, & takes it somewhere utterly beyond. On the one hand, Adkins’ palette is relatively
    small, his harmonic language simple, but they’re used to superb effect, hitting home at an emotional level directly
    & immediately.

    There tends to be more than a whiff of melancholy (or, at the very least, wistfulness) pervading
    Adkins’ music, & that’s here, lending the deep pedal notes a gravitas that makes one’s chest ache, & filling the
    honky-tonk piano notes with a poignancy that’s extremely moving. Gorgeous & thought-provoking in equal measure, it’s a very fine work indeed, essential listening for those drawn to the most meditative forms of
    contemporary electronic music.

  1. Ambient Blog

    After "Fragile.Flicker.Fragment"( 2011) and "Four Shibusa"(2012), "Rift Patterns" is Monty Adkins' third full album release for the Audiobulb label. It's a digital download release (no physical counterpart) that comes with an interactive iBook containing music, text, moving image and film, created by Deborah Templeton (writer), Jason Payne (video artist), and Stephen Harvey (photographer, graphic designer) in response to Monty Adkins' music.

    "Rift Patterns is about the psychogeographical exploration of places and how they impact on our identity and feelings. Psychogeography ('an approach to geography that emphasizes playfulness and 'drifting' around urban environments' - Wikipedia has historically been associated with the exploration of our cities and the 'drift', and has been described by Joseph Hart as "a whole toy box full of playful, inventive strategies for exploring cities... just about anything that takes pedestrians off their predictable paths and jolts them into a new awareness of the urban landscape".

    In 'Rift Patterns', Adkins continues the drift from the city, into the country and into our inner world of thoughts and relationships." Adkins also 'drifts' away from predictable musical paths by using found objects from the many locations visited, placed in the piano to prepare the strings and produce strange (sometimes interestingly dissonant) sonorities. Which are always very subtle, by the way, and nowhere as obtrusive as a 'prepared piano' can sometimes be.

    Most of the album is relatively calm, tender, contemplative music. However, in contrast, there are a few exceptions to that rule like the (aptly titled) "Extatic Drift" and the climax-filled "Clockwork Cities".

    Unfortunately, I cannot tell anything about the iBook accompanying the release, since this interactive format is Apple only - you'll need an iPad to fully enjoy its content. Non iBook users will have to do with a PDF version of the book, which of course is not interactive, but still it's a nice addition and an interesting experiment in enhancing the possibilities of a digital release format. Even without the additional interactive book, "Rift Patterns" is an adventurous listen, and a perfect background to you own private 'Drifts'.

    Oh, and one last thing: if you missed out on "Four Shibusa" in 2012, be sure to correct that as soon as you can!

  1. HHV Mag

    Was ist Psychogeographie? Geprägt hat diesen Begriff die Situationistische Internationale, um den Einfluss geographischen oder architektonischen Umgebungen auf die Psyche zu bezeichnen. Angeblich von berücksichtigen sogar Stadtplaner heutzutage psychogeographische Gesichtspunkte in ihrer Arbeit. Auch der britische Elektroakustiker Monty Adkins beschäftigt sich auf »Rift Patterns« mit diesem Phänomen. Aus der Musik allein erschließt sich der Zusammenhang nicht unmittelbar, sie ist insgesamt sehr sanft, ruhig und fließend gehalten. Doch das rein digital veröffentlichte Opus ist ohnehin als multimediales Kunstwerk mit zugehörigem iBook gedacht, in dem die einzelnen Stücke mit Fotos von Stephen Harvey und Texten der Schriftstellerin Deborah Templeton kombiniert sind. Die Fotos wirken stark ästhetisiert, gestochen scharfe, oft farbenfrohe Naturaufnahmen wechseln sich mit atmosphärischen Architektur- und Technikdetails ab. In einem weiteren Kapitel finden sich drei Videos des Videokünstlers Jason Payne zu Stücken des »Albums«.

    Hier herrscht diffuses Flirren vor, oft kann man bloß erahnen, dass im Hintergrund etwa Menschen zu sehen sind. Zu sehen und hören gibt es das Ganze allerdings nur, sofern man iOS 10.9 auf seinem Rechner installiert oder ein iPad zur Hand hat. Ansonsten bleibt einem die Musik ohne visuelles Zubehör. Und die steht ganz gut für sich. Auch wenn sie im Vergleich zu Monty Adkins’ grandiosem »Four Shibusa« weniger konturiert ist und sich mitunter etwas zu sehr von ihrem eigenen Strom der Ereignisse aus dezentem Rauschen, präpariertem Piano und Ambient-Orgeln treiben lässt.

  2. Radio Student

    Monty Adkins je angleški eksperimentalni glasbenik, ki se je z zadnjimi izdajami usmeril predvsem v ambientalno elektroakustično glasbo, ki združuje elemente akuzmatične oziroma postakuzmatične godbe, glitch-tronike ter soundscape muzik. Osrednji del novega albuma Rift Patterns predstavlja preparirani klavir, za katerega je Monty tokrat napisal precej izrazite melodije in harmonije. Klavir je prepariran na izredno zanimiv način, saj določene tone včasih nadomeščajo bolj, včasih manj uglašeni zvoki, ki pa so lahko harmonični ali neharmonični. Pod pokrovom klavirja se namreč nahajajo v ohišje privijačeni vijaki ter različni ostali predmeti, ki jih vzbuja nihanje kovinskih strun. Na ta način Monty Adkins že z neprocesiranim klavirjem ustvarja izredno razgibamo zvočnost, saj se zdi, kot da bi si eno melodijo podajali različni inštrumenti. V kolikor bi ploščo primerjali z na primer sorodnimi izdelki Fennesza in Ryuichija Sakamota, opazimo, da imamo tu opraviti z zvočno raznolikostjo že v samem akustičnem delu zvočne slike. Klavir namreč dopolnjujejo različni najdeni predmeti, ki zastopajo zvoke različnih realnih okolij. Koncept albuma namreč bazira na psihogeografiji, ki jo lahko razumemo kot igrivo in sproščeno metodo za raziskovanje mest. Pod psihogeografijo spada vsakršno spontano bluzenje po mestu in okolici, ki se zavoljo različnih notranjih vzgibov odmika od začrtane poti. Tako nas Monty Adkins z najdenimi predmeti iz različnih krajev nagovarja, da mu sledimo vse tja skozi podeželje v samo notranjost lastnih občutkov.

    Akustični del plošče oziroma kompozicija za prepariran klavir je tisto, po čemer se plošča Rift Patterns najbolj razlikuje od prejšnjih. Nabor zvokov in procesiranj, s katerimi obdeluje akustični material, pa je precej podoben kot na zadnjih treh albumih. Vseeno pa je tudi elektornski del in posledično celota mnogo bolj razgibana, saj morajo elektronski spektralni komplementi loviti sonično dinamiko prepariranega klavirja. Zvočni dialog pa je še vseeno relativno počasen in nas tako pozibava v ritmu ambientalne glasbe. Pestra, dinamična in široka pa je tudi celotna zvočna slika, saj so zvokom skrbno odmerjene njihove pozicije, ki pa se prav tako kot vse ostalo prelivajo v počasnem tempu ambientale.

    Ker gre za napredno glasbo, album ni izšel na vinilu, prav tako ne na kaseti ali CD-ju. Dostopen je le kot digitalni download, v nekompresirani 16- in 24-bitni kvaliteti. Zvočne datoteke pa dopolnjuje tudi iBook, kjer se glasba prepleta s prozo Deborah Templeton, fotografijo in dizajnom Stephena Harveyja ter videi Jasona Payna. Ker pa ogled knjige zahteva “iNeki” oziroma vsaj najnovejši Macintoshev operacijski sistem Mavericks, pa si neposodobljeni avtor tega teksta žal še ni uspel pogledati priložene elektronske knjige. Vseeno pa izredno pozdravlja odločitev za izdajo iBooka in se veseli dneva, ko bo lahko na seksi retina zaslonu občudoval multimedijski izdelek Rift Patterns.