Freeform Human

Author: Damion Psyreviews
Date: Mar 4, 2009
Views: 3294

What happens when you cross Psytrance with 70s analogue funk sounds, 80s snare drums and guitar, 90s Goa and Breaks stylings, 00s ElectroTech House grooves and freaky visuals? Freeform Human.

This audio–visual anything goes Psytrance outfit was formed a year ago by two artists wishing to amalgamate anything and everything possible into a hulking behemoth of an immersive and aural experience.

The band’s debut Psytrance album “Arnika” is due to be released by the  Gi’iwa label at the start of May, though the words "Psytrance album" may be a little misleading.  Damion from Psyreviews caught up with John and Jason, aka Freeform Human, during a break from their busy schedule getting the album ready for release before the pair temporarily relocate to Prague in May 2009.

John: “Psytrance Album... hmmm... Well I really wanted to make something for people to listen to at home, in the car and at house parties. Those environments are really special for me and I felt it was time to write something specifically for them. Personally  I have struggled to listen to Psytrance albums like this in the past because they are produced for DJs to play rather than for listening to as a cohesive whole. So what I ended up with was a 60 minute piece of music that was written from start to finish with this in mind. It was a total blast to write this way. Made things so easy for me knowing I had basically unlimited time to take the music where it wanted to go. It has been a total creative freedom to not be constantly making decisions about the suitability of a section of music for the six minutes or so of a peak time DJ track. So maybe it’s  not a Psytrance album per se but  a kind of ‘live set’ to listen to when you’re not at a party.”

Damion: So if it’s a 60-minute piece of music how does the CD work and if it’s written for the home environment is it also DJ friendly?

John:  “The CD is split into 23 tracks making it easy for people who only want to listen to certain parts of the album.  This also means that DJs will be able to mix and match any part of the album into their sets. That creates some wild possibilities. For instance a chill artist could weave only the chill passages into their Abelton sets or a full on DJ could come out of a massive build from another track into a funky trance portion of the album and then continue into a crazy full on sample of the album. I appreciate  this sort of DJing isn’t for everyone so the album will be split up and remixed into more standard format tracks and offered online for lossless download. You can find these on our website after the album release.”

John plays the freshly finished album and listening to it is definitely an experience in itself. It moves freely and seamlessly between sections of chill grooving along into nice trance beats and, without much notice, launching itself into peak time full on guitar heavy power trance. This Zappa-esque album also does its best to keep you on your toes by throwing you into a totally different genre and back again at all the right moments. How did all of this diverse mash up of flavours come about?

John: “I like listening to and Dj’ing a very broad range of music though Psytrance for me is by far the best dancefloor experience on the planet at the moment. So I guess what you end up with is a trance album that contains elements of many different genres from the past, present and maybe the future: 70s funk, electro, house, world music, breaks and so on. I'm also a huge fan of analogue equipment that creates a unique sound lending itself to certain genres. The sound is so raw and organic to my ears. I had struggled to write music in the past with digital plug-ins because I just don’t like the overall sound these instruments produce. So about a year ago I took a gamble and went out and grabbed a bunch of analogue gear like the Moog Voyager and a Sherman Filterbank. This whole album has been written using analogue equipment and samples with just a few exceptions. No way  I could have sat down and spent a year with a body of music if it wasn’t written using this method.”

Flicking through the packaging of this album it is easy to notice its uniqueness. It is handmade and hand painted on recycled cardboard and includes a booklet that folds out into a hand painted poster. Jason, who is the visual side of the band, explains further,

Jason: “We wanted to make something different that people really like and enjoy. We're both very conscious of the environment so we hatched this idea to make the album packaging one of a kind and make it from recycled materials. The CD itself is the only thing that isn’t recycled for this release. It has taken far longer than we anticipated to make and paint each album by hand but we are really happy with the results.”

Damion: So Jason how do you factor into the live performance?

Jason: "Live performances include VJing with my own footage captured through experimental filters and mediums to diffuse light and distort objects. In the spirit of the band I wanted to stay away from digital processing and have used old school 'smoke and mirror' techniques. I have found digital manipulation can sometimes be a laborious and sterile process."
Damion: I have noticed on the bands promo material that 10% of proceeds from the album will go to help save Tasmania’s internationally recognised high conservation value old growth forests via front line activist group Still Wild Still Threatened. How did this come about?

Jason: “Yeah, definitely, this cause is so close to our hearts. The forests down there are truly forests of the giants. The trees are so large it’s unimaginable. You really have to go there to get any idea of the scale. There really is nothing in the world like them. These forests, which have found to be among the world's largest carbon sinks in this age of global warming, are getting clear felled and napalmed for woodchips. Gunns Ltd hold a firm grip on everything in Tasmania and it’s unbelievable. The whole situation is astonishing.  Surely the only way they can get away with it is their remoteness to the world so the whole world needs to know about it. The group Still Wild Still Threatened fight so hard to conserve what little is left of these ancient forests. Everyone should support them bigtime or at least check them out on MySpace or Facebook.”

Damion: The year 2009 will see the band make a move to Prague for the summer and hopefully get out and about in Europe for a well earn break from the studio.. or will it?

John (with a wry smile): “Ahhh maybe. We have a surround sound and visuals DVD remix of the album to finish before the end of the year plus I have a few remixes and requests from labels for compilation releases to sort out so we will be as busy as ever. However, it will be really nice to spend the rest of the year in Europe getting inspired and experiencing the wealth of amazing art Europe has to offer.
Tell us a bit more about this DVD...

Jason: “With this DVD we are able to enhance the listeners experience by including the visuals. In this way we can create a more immersive environment for the home/house party setting rather than keeping the visuals solely as part of the live experience. “

John: “Sound-wise the DVD is a chance for us to push the boundaries once again and see what is possible for the future of electronic music. I’ve performed with my other outfit Hired Goonz in surround back in 2005 and am happy with the technology of today to be able to make a DVD surround sound release. One day it would be amazing to perform this album in surround sound with all the performers who played instruments on the album, plus the excellent drumming outfit Tumbarumba with visuals circling the floor on big projectors... but I think that’s still a dream for now.”

The Freeform Human debut album “Arnika” will be out on Gi’iwa Productions in May. World-wide distribution courtesy of SaikoSounds. Lossless download courtesy of Australian album launch tour dates are as follows: 25 April – Hobart, 1 May – Melbourne, 2 May - Newcastle, 9 May – Brisbane. All links plus up-to-date news and gig information will be available through the bands website

Author: vectorselector / Date: 08.03.2009 23:06:44

very cool... freestyle :)
and nice concepts for the packaging

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