How would you classify your music?
MG&DM: We try not to. Rather, we aim to create immersive worlds of sound, with each release unique to the collaborator. Always Becoming cycles between dream pop and sunshine pop, treating these genre tropes as watercolors that highlight Robert Kirkbride’s compositions and performances. Previous releases have embodied chiptune, ambient, baroque and many variants of edm. The focus of our production is a clean, bright and crystalline, yet soft, sound.
You mention the four tracks on this EP can be played on an endless loop. I’m interested in how this was achieved and what type of techniques were implemented?
MG&DM: We can mention two of the techniques that we employed.
The entire EP is perforated: among the four tracks there are silent cut-outs.
The trajectories of sound design and production cycle out of phase, as does the overall form. There are no endpoints. As Robert has noted, this structure alludes to the interplay of the patterns of the stars and life on earth, which hinges (literally) on the tilt of the Earth’s axis.
There are nine hand drawings and an essay on humanity’s tilted view of seasonal cycles that. I’d love to know a little bit more about the thought process behind this and if we should read the essay prior to the music.
RK: The music, drawings and text complement one another, but if I were to disentangle their composition, the music came first, then the drawings, and the words came last. I recommend listening to the music first, unencumbered by words. Then read the essay, which emerged as a companion to the music and drawings but does not seek to explain them, literally. Look at the drawings whenever you like: they took shape as visual echoes of evolving iterations of the music. Melissa & David recorded me playing in different rooms at the Arches, designed by William Lightfoot Price in 1899, and the interplay of sound and space inspired these visual translations for my ongoing studies of memory and placemaking.
How did this project form and do you plan on performing these pieces live?
MG&DM: In 2021, we developed Always Becoming while living together in a unique building. Robert composed for guitar inside and outside, in sunlight and moonlight. Embracing the acoustics of the spaces, we iteratively recorded his guitars in several rooms.
Across successive months of early-morning, sunrise studio sessions, we wove these recordings into our sound design and production. Our sound design was influenced by the environment, including songs of the dawn chorus and nocturnal insect communication, sleigh bells affixed to a tree branch on a windy day, and the delicate footfall of our rescue Pomeranian on the hollow wooden floors.
We’ve been invited to perform at this year’s Queens New Music Festival, May 6, 2023, at the Secret Theatre. Robert will perform Always Becoming, and we will be joined in performance by harpist Tamar Frankel Damari.
What’s next for you?
MG&DM: We’re currently developing more studio and performance projects with individuals and ensembles.
RK: Continuing my explorations of memory, identity and placemaking, I’m completing an essay for Places Journal about the complex histories and brightening futures of the remaining 19th-century Kirkbride Plan psychiatric hospitals.
End of Interview