Modal Voices

Steve Reich, Tim Hecker, Merzbow: Influence on Modal Voices' Uncertain Designs

It's been a little over a month since the Modal Voices' debut LP was released into the world, and so far the response has been fantastic: the album received a glowing review via Ravedeaf, and lots of people I know are mentioning in passing that it may very well be the best thing I've ever made. I have to admit that I'm super proud of the record I wrote, and hope you enjoy it.

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I enjoy talking about the influences that led me to making the music I create, so to that end I put together a playlist of some favorites. The big one here is Steve Reich: Music for 18 Musicians, one of my ten or fifteen favorites of all time; I listen to it often, and after 20 or so years I'm still astounded by its melodies and unusual sense of structure. From that LP I borrowed several ideas—specifically, the notion of maintaining a consistent key and tempo throughout, and also the idea of splitting a single piece into several movements (which isn't unusual in classical music, but as a teen who mostly listened to contemporary electronic music, it was and still is a revelation).

Merzbow is fairly significant touchpoint throughout all of the records I make—for me it's fun to imbue an otherwise pristine recording of music with some static and distortion, but here the interplay between melody and noise is a critical thread in the composition. Lastly, I can't get away without mentioning Tortoise—even though Reich is probably the strongest reference point for Uncertain Designs, my way of finding his music was through the third Tortoise album, TNT. "Four Day Interval" is probably my favorite song of theirs, and it was because of that song that I started seeing Steve Reich's name referenced in record reviews and discussions of the band.

The full MV album is at the bottom of the playlist. Enjoy, and if you like the record I made, then sign up for the Safety Records mailing list, and please tell your friends about us!