Today (20th April) the Cooper & Hodge think tank releases a further EP of collaboration – Artefact. Four tracks of Tom Hodge’s piano compositions, presented on a mixed bed of Cooper’s production, follow the duo’s previous Fragments of Self partnership on Fields Records.
Opening with ‘Remnants’, an accessible 3 ¾ minute foray into “the power of treasured objects and sounds to evoke involuntary emotional response,” Cooper creates a subtle backdrop of thin steel rain for Hodge’s “robust” melody to stride trough – eventually falling into its own happy rhythm, with frenetic trills to lead us out.
Then the dark strings of ‘Teotihuacan Pt2’ bring us into a room of lost shadows, wet candle flicker and rain – for the second composition based on Max Cooper’s field research of the titular Mexican pyramids (you can take the boy out of science, but…). Based around binaural recordings of a storm within Teotihuacan city, Artefact’s second track pitches a balance between mournful and hopeful; the echoes of Hodge’s simple ivory sitting almost omnipotent, as atmosphere and keys exchange prominence across 4 ½ beautiful, subtle minutes.
“The culture that created the pyramids has mainly been destroyed and its knowledge lost, replaced with a rebuilt, but still beautiful, tourist trap,” says Cooper – following his research trip to the Aztec’s ‘birthplace of the Gods’. “It’s a mix of loss and sadness and beauty with an edge of modern misuse.”
Then the monster. ‘Resonant Expanse’ opens with spiraling static and flux, an ethereal space echo, before a distorted Doppler effect gives way to a rise of simple rhythm – coming in strong, then stronger. A background of glitch weaves through the brooding foreground, coming together about midway, before the constant ebb and flow of warped sound finish our nine minute adventure. The first time I listened to ‘Resonant Expanse’ I was reading about supernovas, which seemed oddly appropriate.
And to finish, ‘Teotihuacan Pt1’ – the precursor to Artefact’s second track, which has been available as an EP teaser (free download) on Max Cooper’s website. A simple right-hand-left-hand from Hodge sets up another restrained blend of storm sounds and sprinkled glitch from Cooper – much akin to Pt2.
An evocative goodbye, creeping in to the end of Artefact like something precious and forgotten. And after the prominence of its predecessor, which carries the same self harm and excitement of centrifugal force, it’s a welcome swan song to an extremely successful EP and latest proffering from this enduring partnership.
Artefact EP, by Tom Hodge & Max Cooper, is out from today/20th April on Fields Records. For more info & online purchases, visit http://ldnflds.tumblr.com/
For more on Max Cooper, visit http://maxcooper.net/
For more on Tom Hodge, visit http://www.tomhodge.com/