Minotaur Shock – Orchard
Minotaur Shock – Orchard
Following a four-year hiatus, Minotaur Shock – aka Bristol-based musician David Edwards – is set to return with Orchard, arguably his strongest album of his ten-year, four-album career. After two albums with 4AD, Orchard marks a return to the label where it all started –Manchester’s Melodic.
After quickly recording most of the basic tracks for the album on a laptop at home,Minotaur Shock took advantage of a proper studio for the first time to fill in the gaps. Live drum tracking, piano, xylophone and a bit of bass guitar were added, giving the finished recordings a propulsive quality. Flutes and clarinets were played by long-time collaborator Emily Edwards (no relation) and recorded in a Devon summerhouse, while James Underwood’s violins were recorded remotely and emailed back and forth.
The resulting album is a sonic journey through shifting moods and landscapes, a proper instrumental journey. It finds Edwards embracing influences from a range of music: ‘I was listening to a fair bit of British stuff and became fascinated by that particular eccentricity that runs through a lot of folk, library, prog and dance music. Things like Mike Oldfield, Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, The Orb, Art of Noise, Kevin Ayers, Virginia Astley, Andrew Poppy, Richard Skelton, Autechre.’
The unashamed use of acoustic (or acoustic-sounding) instruments is perhaps a response to the much maligned folktronica tag. ‘The word used to bug me,’ he says, ‘So this was my perverse reaction to it – I figured that instead of trying to avoid folk I might as well get in there and see what happened. I was inspired by the strange semi-organic sounds of modern string modelling synthesizers, so wanted to see what would happen if I mixed them with real stringed instruments – how many fake instruments I could bury under real ones.’
‘For the first time, this entire album is very much set in a specific time and place’,he says. ‘There are field recordings all over the album, sometimes buried very low in the mix, sometimes audible. They are mainly there for my benefit, like a photo album – along with a few drumming errors that I’ve left in there just to torture myself with’.
A mutual admirer, the brilliant Gold Panda, has remixed album track ‘Saundersfoot’, one of a number of remixes and bonus tracks which will be released as an exclusive free 6-track EP for initial purchasers of the album.
As well as working on his own material as Minotaur Shock, David has also been prolific working on other projects. He’s collaborated on Perfume Genius’ latest album ‘Put Your Back N 2 It’, adding electronic percussion on the track ‘Floating Spit’, mixed the first single, ‘Hearts In Home’, by Kwes (now signed to Warp) played shows with Hauschka and Gold Panda and also done a full tour supporting Ratatat as Minotaur Shock.
The completed album ‘Orchard’ affirms Minotaur Shock’s position as pioneer and master of folk-tinged electronica. It’s a masterful work