On ‘Ghost Notes’, John Matthias and Jay Auborn’s latest album, the British duo take their experiments with sound to new levels, catapulting their work into unexplored territories of human-robotic collaboration. Matthias and Auborn first partnered for the 2017 release ‘Race to Zero”. The album made evident the musicians’ mutual desire to push hard at the boundaries between physical and digital sound worlds – an exploration they had been pursuing individually for years. Combining his expertise and interests in science and sound, the composer, violinist and physicist, John Matthias is known for blending tradition and futurism in his music. His work has taken the form of pioneering research on Neuronal Music Technology as well as 4 acclaimed studio albums and numerous collaborations with renowned artists including Radiohead, Matthew Herbert and Coldcut. Jay Auborn’s assiduous work in musical engineering, which takes sound as yet another malleable material to be played with, has made him into a sought-after musician, record producer and sound artist working on everything from large-scale sound installations to film music. Between their shared passions and complementary skills, the musicians found a unique and undeniably bold synergy. ‘Ghost Notes’ continues to be driven by this force; for the album, John Matthias and Jay Auborn gave their computer limbs and unleashed its agency, improvising alongside this new band member to create mini electronic symphonies.
The result of this cyborgian jam session? A high-energy album featuring a wide range of sounds and tempos. In this regard, ‘Ghost Notes’ stands in stark contrast to the more minimal, ambient output of other artists experimenting with similar frameworks of digital-acoustic interplay. Perhaps it’s because of this immersive quality, where textures, layers and emotional dramaturgy all combine to create unheard-of worlds and make it impossible for partial listening, that ‘Ghost Notes’ first single is named ‘Dive Into This’. Matthias’ soaring violin lures listeners into shifting landscapes of syncopated drum beats and cycling synths. Classical structures are deconstructed into electronica and back, all the while Auborn is distorting acoustic sounds beyond recognition. “It’s about screwing with the materiality of it,” he says.
The video for the single was directed by Joe Auborn and Izzy Moriarty Thompson. “The film depicts a character, perhaps a machine, perhaps human once, maybe still. Stuck in the grind of an endless routine. All they need is a chance, a glitch that sparks an awakening. What follows is an internal conflict to see who, or what will come out on top,” they say. It features an impressive choreographed performance by Anthony Missen.
Ghost Notes, released on the 7th of April via Cognitive Shift Records, boldly explores human-robotic collaboration through mini-electronic symphonies.