Shape Memory is the first full-length recording made through a collaboration between 12k label mates and friends Marcus Fischer and Simon Scott. In the fall of 2017, on a free day between US tour dates for Slowdive (for which Simon is the drummer), the pair managed to conceptualize and record an album at S1/Synth Library in Portland, OR.
In advance of their meet up, the pair shared sounds and recordings and then dubbed them on to cassette tape loops. Field recordings, processed acoustic sounds and synthesizer found their way to these tapes. In person, once they had a system of looping tapes playing back, they layered additional live elements: a bed of cymbals and scattered percussion, contact mic’d objects, live sampling, guitar and modular synths.
Shape Memory unfolds as a 36-minute piece (divided into three movements) rich in texture and deep connections. Fans of both artists’ solo works will recognize shadows of their unique aesthetics but the beauty lies in the new direction they chose to take it together. There’s a captivating density to the sound with plenty of atonal moments highlighted by the metallic resonances of the cymbals. Floating drones underpin granular guitar scattering while tape loops, lost in noise, provide a rhythm that’s not quite there. By the end, deep tones, mysterious and murky, take over, darker than each artist often goes.
Collaborations are all about creating a new entity beyond the expected from the members. Shape Memory is an album that’s not simply the sum of its parts, but a new creation from two talented explorers and friends.