Howes – TD-W700 / Leazes
The debut 12″ release from 20 year old Howes. Comes in the Melodic hexagonal housebag, hand stamped and limited to 300 copies.
Even in an age established on artists who don’t feel the need to play instruments and creators who cut and paste, 19 year-old prodigy Howes already possesses a frightening amount of talent. With debut track ‘Asiko’ already embedded across the blogging internet, debut Melodic EP furthers on its vast promise. His is music of the mind; stylistically it takes root in the darker vespers of house music, its minimalist approach verging towards techno; but ultimately it acts as a sub-conscious portrayal of the editor’s nature of his brain, their rhythms and nocturnal sounds the wholes of an underlying complex DNA matrix of mutated samples and beats.
“I think John Cage said that the 21st century composer is just an arranger of noise,” Howes comments. “That’s kind of how I see it, I arrange noise into various patterns distorting and warping the sounds as I go. The way I make stuff is chaotic; I’m not a musician, I don’t know theory, I’ll never sit down and write a melody on a keyboard.” Yet the chaos underneath translates to something effervescent on the surface, the gentle hiss and click of the teenager’s tape production wrapping the twitching beats and poly-warped textures into a restless, jittering but overridingly fluid sonic path. That Howes uses tape as part of his recording is an intention of his process; his hardware set-up of a modular synth and two Technic 1210s feeds into Ableton, where he completes the initial track, but he emphasises the importance of, as he puts it “getting the music back out of the computer.”
“In my mind a track made in a computer is just a series of 0s and 1s,” he says. “It’s very stable and clean and clinical so I find its important to get it out there, let machines add their own texture and breath into the track. There’s something about recording onto tape where even if you’ve taken samples from a 90s techno track, a 70s afro-beat track and a modular synth it glues all the parts together.” To that end he records the track onto tape before then feeding it back into the computer, drawing together the essence of technological past and the undimmed, glimmering present to create a delicious set of hauntology. “You get the best of both worlds,” he explains. “Clean deep bass, with smeary analogue sounding high end and of lots tape hiss.”
This would be nothing if Howes was anything less than an avid music consumer, but the 19 year-old draws his samples from a rigorously chosen volume of material. He’s been making electronic music since he was just 10 years old, and lists everything from Cluster and Can (he points out ‘Vitamin C’s’ groove is the same as ‘Asiko’s’), Delia Derbyshire through to early 90’s Warp and the Border Community as direct and indirect influences on his work – a product of our internet/iPod generation, music knowledge now uncorrelated with age. From these borrowed sounds, though, he’s created four tracks uniquely his own, with so many sounds cribbed from different time eras conversely pushing the resulting college into a time-transcendent realm. He himself describes his music as evoking “getting home from a heavy night, getting comfortable and listening to weird records.” Weird indeed, but quite, quite wonderful.