Ollie Bown and Sam Britton produce their fourth long player after 2001’s ‘Squid Ink’ (Output Recordings). The result of too much moving house and not enough continuity, ‘Misfits’ is a minimally-arranged mini LP made with two laptop computers in a vacuum. The artists were not present and neither was the DAT machine.
The motivation behind ‘Misfits’ as a project came about as a result of ‘Squid Ink’, a detailed exploration into microphonically-minded and rhythmically upfront electronica and roughly speaking the natural continuation of Icarus’s first two albums in it’s exploration of detailed arrangements and recording/sampling abstractions.
Jazz has always been a great influence on Icarus’s approach to production, and although ‘Squid Ink’ never explicitly shows off its interest in the genre stylistically, it is very much concerned with notable expressions and symbols of communication that characterise jazz improvisation. ‘Misfits’ is essentially a process whereby Icarus have begun to consolidate what their interested in the notion of improvisation with regard to how this appeared in recorded form.
‘Misfits’ was created through a variety of games used to abstract context and compositional technique in such a way that the components of each piece are in some sense autonimous (being composed in seperate locations or at different times) but nevertheless linked by a kind of discriptive grammar (175bpm split across various boundaries including rhythmic/percussive, melodic/harmonic, tonal/atonal, structured/free). The intention being to inform the music’s content without being prescriptive over it’s structure and in this sense take on some of the subjective values of improvisation whist still retaining a compositional objectivity. The improvisation – like the music – is not live, not in ‘real time’ as such, but is jammed nonetheless in some pseudo-temporal space.
"The idea was not necessarily to deconstruct the way we make music, but to re-work the way in which electronic ‘records’ are made, which in many cases could be seen to have become an all to obvious and often simplistic process", says Sam.
"Finally, the ‘label’ isn’t applicable. We are putting out music as Icarus direct through distributors, and without any major concentration on press. This may change, but for the moment it reflects our sentiments towards the possibility of a more weightless system of musical industry… "Things are looking up for the natives of planet E; music is still here, and its availability in the form of small shiny circles may be outmoded but is still relevant nonetheless.