Introducing Adam Betts and his percussive electronic track 'Drumbones'
Today we introduce you to London-based Adam Betts, whose debut album ‘Colossal Squid’ is due 25 November on Blood and Biscuits, released: digitally, on CD, and Limited Edition Yellow Vinyl with download code.
'Colossal Squid’ showcases Betts' unique approach to music combining his love for the irregularities in electronic music (by the likes of Aphex Twin, Autechre and more recently Arca and Oneohtrix Point Never) with his visceral connection to live drums.
“Drumbones” is the album opener and is suitably the first track to be heard:
As a member of Brian Eno’s favourite London experimentalists Three Trapped Tigers, Betts has spent years exploring the boundaries between electronic and live music, and celebrating the flaws thrown up when one tries to replicate the other.
Taking the “Drums Vs Electronics / Man Vs Machine'” idea he’s been developing behind the kit for TTT, The Heritage Orchestra and more recently when headhunted by Squarepusher for his Shobaleader One shows, this album has a wider focus.
Having originally written, developed and recorded an earlier version of ‘Colossal Squid’ over a few months in various studios around London, the opportunity arose to record a live session. The resulting recordings captured such an enthralling energy & spontaneity that they instantly usurped the previous studio versions & became the final recordings for this release.
“It clicked that this was the way to represent the material in the best way possible - performed entirely live, as it happened. Any "mistakes", any looseness, felt like a step away from the feeling of material being written with the click of a mouse at a computer.” explains Betts. "It's really a punk album with tape delays instead of guitar chords.”
“So much electronic music has had concerns with performance - how much of the amazing programmed music can be recreated live? For me music has been so much about the connection between the performers onstage and the audience.”
To record the album live like this, Betts took a unique approach, making a series of instruments on Ableton – a combination of effects, synths, and samples, all that could be triggered from the drum kit or SPD-SX - and “playing” them live, with the freedom to take the pieces in a variety of unplanned directions.
Working with previous Three Trapped Tigers collaborator John Calvert (Ghostpoet, NAO) on tracks ‘FUB, ‘Substance Enthusiast’ and ‘Aneek’, the ethos was that no matter how exciting or odd the texture, it was important to turn each track into a piece of music with real form and shape. So, for all it’s technicality, experimentalism & idiosyncrasy, ‘Colossal Squid’ is an evocative, absorbing & rewarding journey: avant-garde in formation, yet undeniably catchy & invigorating.
Aug 19th Arctangent Festival, Bristol
Sept 3rd In The Woods Festival, Kent
Sept 16th Green Door Store, Brighton
Photo Credit: Jo Bongard