WITH his delicious Earth EP (read our review here) just passing its six-month anniversary, the time is more than ripe for another sonic missive from Max Cooper; and the excellent news is that today he’s announced the release of a new EP, Maps, which will be out on Mesh come midsummer.
He’s also shared a first video drop, a collaboration with the classical Indian singer Samad Khan, who brings a lilting, ethereal spirituality to the track; and a video, which you see herein, again muchly in collaboration.
As with the beautiful, dizzying audiovisual experience that was “Swarm”, from the Earth EP, the track was written as a response to the visual elements, rather than the other way round – and again involves the Irish film-maker Kevin McGloughlin. Its origins lie in a choreography by the Jacob Jonas dance company for dancer Emma Rosenzweig-Bock, which was then given to Kevin to reinterpret. Max then scored for the short film with Samad Khan and reworked the resulting score into two further pieces for the four-track Maps EP.
“I was struck by the raw, textural aspect to this dance project, with the vast concrete space, the dirt on Emma’s face, the writhing intensity and the stuttering clones,” says Max.
“It seemed to me to be peaceful and smooth as well as violent and rough at the same time.
“I tried to bring some of those combinations into the soundtrack, using binaural recordings of my fingers scrubbing against rough concrete surfaces and a wind chime making disorganised melodies.
“For the synth elements, I played several layers live while trying to mimic the movements of the dance, often being compelled into moments of discordance and strange edits.
“I stuttered the sounds to sync with Kevin’s clone actions, and followed a slightly unusual arrangement defined by the visual sequence rather than by musical considerations.”
The title of the EP? It comes from the way the artists’ multidisciplinary approach – choreography, dance, film and music, are each, in turn, mapped to and across the others.
“A map is the representation of one structure in terms of another,” Max explains.
“Each creative provided their own mapping, not of some literal structure or brief, but of the feelings, movements, textures, the felt form of what was presented, which carried so much intent from the outset and filtered through the whole process.”
Never shy of a creative or collaborative challenge, it’s the first time Max has written for the sphere of modern, abstract dance – leading him to textures he may not have arrived at alone.
“It was an absolute pleasure getting to work with Kevin’s vision and Samad’s beautiful voice, and the amazing work of Emma and Jacob,” he says.
“There was more than plenty of rich content there for me to draw on, that’s why the project ended up as an EP rather than just a single piece as I experimented with different interpretations.”
Further reading about maps and mapping and their wider implications can be found in Max’s journal archive, here.
Max Cooper’s Maps will be released by Mesh on June 24th and is available to pre-order now over at his Bandcamp page.