Composer and synthesist Matt McBane and the renowned Sandbox Percussion ensemble join forces on Bathymetry — a 40-minute piece in eight movements scored for monophonic Moog analog synthesizer and percussion. Drawing on classical minimalism, electronic textures, ASMR Youtube aesthetics and the diverse palette of ambient modular synth music, Bathymetry features McBane on his Moog Slim Phatty synth, with the members of Sandbox performing on a veritable playground of found instruments (mixing bowls, ping pong balls, glass bottles, etc.), orchestral percussion (vibraphone, tam tam, etc.), and drum sets.
"The synth most often functions in a bass role," McBane says, "as a kind of ocean floor to the more trebly sounds of the percussion ensemble. The idea of bathymetry is sometimes more literal, sometimes more poetic. In some movements, the synth in the bass determines the behavior of the percussion sounds above it, so it's shaping and refracting rhythms in the same way the ocean floor shapes the waves passing above it. In other movements, we're creating more of a dark, underwater, mysterious world."
‘Groundswell,’ the album's first single, is scored for two drum sets (panned left and right), Moog synth, vibraphone and tam-tam. Over the track’s 7-plus minutes, two big waves of sound are formed, as layers of interlocking patterns of cycling polymeters build up and then recede in an ecstatic meditation. Suggesting electro-acoustic references as far-flung as Eno, Ferrari and Kraftwerk, the piece offers an immediately accessible window into the hyper-dynamic sonic environment of Bathymetry.
Produced by Matt McBane
Recorded and mixed by Joseph Branciforte
Mastered by Paul Gold
Sandbox Percussion: Jonathan Allen, Victor Caccese, Ian Rosenbaum, Terry Sweeney