ROSS TONES, the West Country-based practitioner of a very I form of textural IDM, has announced he’s releasing his forth album under that moniker for Houndstooth come the end of June. It’s to be entitled Dragons, and he’s dropped a first sonic enticement in “Brujita”; scroll down, press play, come back up to finish reading.
You’ll find a track full of delightful electronic crackle and fizz, archly grand, all wrapped up in a slow head-nod break that begs for summer sweat and a lover. The visuals also dovetail beautifully; slowly morphing panels of what appears to be grained geological photography pulse and shimmer.
Ross says of the track:”‘Brujita’ is about the breaking of aural tradition and the suppression of cunning women and men. It’s a eulogy to lost folk wisdom.” So there’s an earthier, more supernatural tradition weaving through it, too.
In fact, the whole album plays out in such a trope: investigating the spaces and the dialogue between ancient wisdom and the transmission of ages-old wisdom through new technological corridors. For your bucks you’ll get ten tracks of rhythm-heavy grooves, some wholly electronic, some analogue, some ancient and ritualistic; each track will come supplemented by visuals generated by an AI neural network.
Ross developed this piece of stunning tech with artist and designer Matt Woodham. The structures and changes in the music trigger the flow of imagery – pretty stunning.
“Everything that happens musically triggers the algorithm to do something,” Ross explains.
“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.”
Ross says that on Dragons he wanted to explore the purpose of music from the beginning of human history. “We have Palaeolithic minds, but find ourselves in an increasingly complex and interconnected world,” he elucidates.
“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. 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.