Today I want to talk to you a little bit about the concept of collaboration. It’s something that’s been on my mind as things are happening around my workplace that are a bit troubling… Ryan H. has been anything but shy about what keeps him busy during that big 40, the never ending rat race, and I guess it’s time I let you all in as a preface… I’m a customer service rep at a print shop. About a year ago, well after the recession hit and sales took a nose-dive, my company decided to join forces with another local printer who needed a new place to operate out of and had similar financial woes with the rise in digital advertising and the decline in folks willing to spend their money on print. The idea was a good one, two companies with a common goal, coming together to grow something fresh and new. It didn’t work. As of today, the companies have all but cut ties completely with one another. The two owners had different managing styles, different equipment, debts, accounting strategies, sales philosophies… and neither of the two were willing to let what they had originally go, even though their stubbornness was likely the cause of their original troubles in the business. To quote They Might Be Giants, “Now it’s over, [they’re] dead, and [they] haven’t done anything that [they] want. Or, [they’re] still alive, and there’s nothing [they] want to do…”
It’s a sad state of affairs… one I’m having a lot of trouble reconciling inside myself, partly because my own financial security feels rocky at best now, but especially because I’m witness to brilliant collaborative efforts like this album (and others – see Bob Bellerue and Francisco Meirino‘s fabulous new noise collab. out on the Anarchymoon imprint or Sparkling Wide Pressure and Derek Rogers‘ recent 3″ CDR for Kimberly Dawn), which was recently sent over from Polish ambient composer Bartosz Dziadosz. Dziadosz creates electro-ambient music under the moniker Pleq in Warsaw, and this collection of works finds his efforts joining forces with Vancouver ambient producer Jordan Sauer, a.k.a. Segue. My question is this: if two companies that are both in the print business, in the SAME TOWN, share some of the same clients, have the same goals (growth of the business)… then why did it fail? And why are these two star-crossed space and time sonic manipulators able to succeed so wildly across such a vast expanse of geography and culture? The only answer I can come up with is that this isn’t, nor was it ever, nor will it ever be, about money, profit, or adherence to the “system.” This is about creating a new system. This is about Love. With a capital L.
And oh, how the Love flows through The Seed. Like a river through this record, with Pleq and Segue in the same boat, each manning an oar, gently floating downstream. By the wooded marsh. By the broken power lines that sputter sparks. By the lone house in the grass with the picket fence and chipped white paint. By the child in the homemade tire swing. Beneath the myopic vastness of the stars. The oars gently pushing through the water, and with little whirlpools unfolding in their wake, washes of tiny waves flow with a rolling, steadied composure. Gentle sheets of sound push forth, surrounded by carefully constructed, softly executed interjections that keep their distance while standing their ground. Finding places within the swish, small pops and crackles, brief flashes of melody and mellow bass.
As you might imagine, The Seed is an album all about growth. These songs pulse, vibrate, and radiate with the concept throughout their breadths, so that makes instant sense. But there’s also something growing out of the sheer collaboration itself. Whether ’twas Pleq who dug the soil. Whether ’twas Segue who applied the water. The two planted this seed together, and are watching something new grow. Their styles, whether its Pleq, Segue, Segue remixing Pleq or the other way around (all of these incarnations occur throughout the record), are indiscernible from one another. There are no arguments, no disagreements. The two just want to Love. They want this seed to grow… and it sounds as though the two aren’t afraid to try different combinations of elements to allow that flower to burst. Sometimes that means using different instruments (delicate piano appear several times as well as some strings), sometimes it’s about experimenting with rhythmic ideas, incorporating an Autechre-like crackling nervousness with a Kyle Bobby Dunn-like calm and composure, as well as his two-faced shifts between seraphic beauty and dark, minor tonalities. Or fluctuating volumes a-la Oval to give these planar fields of sound the breath of life… But it still doesn’t quite make it all the way this time out… these compositions never flood up and out the way I might want them to, as someone like Tim Hecker might have let them, allowing that intense inertia of emotion to reign supreme above all other elements.
This seed is still growing… a bud at the top of a stem, just brimming with delightful, brilliant colors. My company(ies) gave up in a hopeless heap of a building, oily machinery and debt. But this… this won’t fail. It can’t. This is nature and technology finding a way to work together in beautiful harmony, growing together. There’s the Love. There it is, right there. This bud will bloom. It reminds me a lot of this little blog here… this seemingly random coming together of Ryan (SLC) and Crawf (Denver), met by chance through friends of friends, coming together with common goals and aspirations to work toward something new outside of fame, fortune, or success within our crumbling systems… it’s something we’re very proud of, but it’s always a work in progress. Pleq and Segue should both be commended for what they’re doing here.. it’s definitely inspired me to look for more ways I can collaborate with others, across the block or across the ocean. Let’s build new music together and share it.