Tudor Acid’s new album Clevolati is a leap into the unknown for the artist as much as the listener, as he moves from hardware to coded instruments using Max/MSP. A decision born from circumstances more than artistic direction.
Live-coded music and music programming are methods bubbling away in the fringes of experimentalism. Some artists are using it to fiddle with different temperaments and push the boundaries of what is listenable, whereas others are turning towards it as a way to continue making music whilst being faced with financial and temporal pressures.
“I’m living in Bristol and commuting to Swindon for work, meaning time and money are harder to come by. Programming in Max means I can sell hardware and build my own instruments, adding whatever hardware I need as I go on.”
“I found I could recreate certain sounds I made using hardware I no longer have. It’s a strange process, I came away with this sense of intrinsic humanity. I was building these emotional, affecting melodies, from nothing but my own code.”
Tudor Acid: The Pastoral Programmer
Clevolati is the result of just 9 months using Max, every sound being programmed from scratch. There are tracks on there that have this wonky melodic joy to them, tracks led by breaks and squelchy bass, and downright darkness.
“I was surprised with how dark some tracks came out, but you can no more control how a song comes out than control your emotions.”
Admittedly, the overall sound is sharper and more brittle than previous analogue releases, but if you’ve ever read Lanark by Alasdair Gray, you’ll understand this overarching sense of unsettling otherworldly melancholy, as the title character drifts through the fog in a strange hinterland.
For an experimental album written 100% in code, it’s more listenable than you think, and far more visual too. In managing to convey a pastiche of pastoral England told by a machine, it keeps Tudor Acid’s skew-whiff psychedelia ticking along.
Tudor Acid - Clevolati
Out 25.11 on Tudor Beats
Richard Wigglesworth has lived in Bristol since the early 2000s. Since 2010, 5 albums and 11 EPs have been released under his nom de synth, Tudor Acid, including remixes by Luke Vibert and Radioactive man.