NEW ARTIST FINDS: MAX COOPER
From its very start, electronic music has been described as inhuman - cold, clinical, detached, unemotional. The unearthly sound of sine waves and oscillators - sounding like nothing found in nature - combined with the abstract control interfaces - which make any kind of human expression notoriously difficult, make for a decidedly conceptual experience. Traditionally, electronic music might move your body, but it was rare for electronic sounds to truly move the soul.
But what is that? After all, music is just numbers, like any other science, and numbers can be used to tell moving, emotional, all too human stories. As in the case of Max Cooper’s excellent new Chromos EP.
London producer Max Cooper has been influenced and interested in hard science and complex narratives from the very start. Cooper has been employing complex information processing and cutting-edge scientific research in his music from his earliest releases, after graduating with a degree in computational biology from Nottingham University in 2008. While most electronic producers cut their teeth on MDMA and illicit raves, Deadmau5 and Aphex Twin, Cooper draws inspiration from the basic building blocks of life, building compelling, infectious, warm, analog grooves from highly complex computations and recording techniques.
On the Chromos EP, Cooper turns his complex computations to the buildings of life, employing avant-garde production techniques to emulate the unfurling of life. Using hundreds of micro-samples and a random number generator, Cooper simulates the uncertainty of the genetic principle, creating atmospheric club bangers like others would breed grapes or greyhounds.
If these concepts seem hard to comprehend, Cooper also worked with award-winning video artist Andy Lomas to produce visuals, based around the same formulae. Lomas’ knotted-ball-of-light visuals serve as an analog to Cooper’s dancefloor meditations, making his ideas relatable (as well as insanely mesmerizing to watch).
You should check out the video for Andy Lomas’ visuals on Max Cooper’s “Chromos,” for the best visualization of this innovative artistic pairing.
MAX COOPER - CHROMOS
But have no fear, Max Cooper’s work is no exercise in academic pointlessness; not sound art for the sake of art but, rather, real, true, gentle, graceful club tunes. Take a listen to “Distant Light,” from Cooper’s equally excellent Emergence EP, to hear his gauzy emotive, piano-driven house music, sounding like Donnacha Costello and Tim Hecker had a baby.
MAX COOPER - DISTANT LIGHT
And, finally, check out “Harmonisch Serie” to hear Cooper in straight production mode, producing ethereal, ephemeral, ambient house/techno, that will leave you feeling like you’re levitating 6-inches above the light-up dancefloor.
MAX COOPER - HARMONISCH SERIE
Recommended for fans of Ben Frost, Aphex Twin, Brian Eno, or anyone who is able to tackle complex emotions and narratives while making powerful, ahead-of-the-curve dance music. We here at We Are: The Guard cannot get enough, and you’ll likely be hooked once you hear, as well.
J. Simpson occupies the intersection between criticism, creativity, and academia. Based out of Portland, Or., he is the author of Forestpunk, an online journal/brand studying the traces of horror, supernatural, and the occult through music, fashion and culture. He plays in the dreamfolk band Meta-Pinnacle with his partner Lily H. Valentine, with whom he also co-founded Bitstar Productions, a visual arts collective focused on elevating Pop Culture to High Art.