ROSS TONES, the electronic voyager who records for Houndstooth as Throwing Snow, has dropped a video for new single “Halos”, the latest intelligent bodymover to be lifted from his forthcoming album Dragons.
Dragons will be Throwing Snow’s fourth album and seeks to explore the space between science and ancestral wisdom, connecting modern electronica back to the prehistoric nous for transmitting knowledge for the complexity of the contemporary world. It features ten tracks of heavy and primal rhythms, sourced from everything percussive through the ages, from ancient ritual instruments to modern drum kits; and each track is accompanied by visuals generated by an AI neural network.
The new single illustrates this, coming armed with generative and seemingly organic patterning that morphs and shifts through rocky and woody texturing. On top of which it’s a quiet banger of a tune, full of chattering sustain and acid shearing.
Ross Tones developed Dragons’ neural network with artist and designer Matt Woodham; the structures and changes in the music trigger corresponding changes in the visuals, which represent the living world in three scales – from microscopic views of rocks to large scale maps.
“Everything that happens musically triggers the algorithm to do something,” explains Ross.
“This isn’t controlled or predictable, and the music becomes an instruction for the algorithm to make its own decisions about datasets, images, speed, movement and other manipulations.”
He adds speaking of the new track: “The word ‘halo’ has its origins in the Greek for ‘threshing floor’ because of the clean, circular area used to thresh the grain. Iconographically, it has gone on to imply the sacredness of rulers but it’s etymology is rooted in work and toil.”
This all leads into the concepts Ross is interested in investigating; he’s fascinated by crafts, archeoacoustics, history, evolution and psychology.
“We have Palaeolithic minds but find ourselves in an increasingly complex and interconnected world,” he says. “Music and art have always been ritualised as a tool for memory, knowledge and emotion, and humans make sense of existence by using tools.
“Songs were tools of understanding, passed down from our ancestors. Now, things are complex and interrelated, so we can’t use that ancestral knowledge, and need to invent new tools – that’s where machine learning comes into it.
“I’m into putting music back into history,” he elucidates. “I want to make you think about what music is, what its purpose has been.
“I’m asking about the scientific aspect to folklore and ancient knowledge, and looking at why it’s still useful. This album is a doorway – if you choose to listen like that.”
Throwing Snow’s Dragons will be released by Houndstooth digitally, on CD, and on trad black and very limited coloured vinyl on June 25th; you can pre-order as the format of your choice here.