Balafon Sketches began as a series of live jams in Cumbria. Percussionist and producer Contours & instrument builder, musician, painter and ceramicist Seth Sutton experimented with balafons and a gamelan alongside Sutton’s homemade string and percussive instrumentation. The tracks’ foundations were built running these elements of tuned percussion through delay and reverb pedals, experimenting with interlocking polyrhythms and the overtones and textures created by the raw recordings.
Contours built upon these recordings utilising a range of live instrumentation such as synthesizers, drum machines and other organic percussion. He worked alongside several instrumentalists: cellist Abel Selaocoe and saxophonist/ flautist Callum Connell feature on ‘Keld’, violinist Simmy Singh on ‘45npr’, and violinist Beka Reid on ‘Eastern Bells’.
Balafon Sketches sees the coming together of electronic and organic instrumentation. It crosses musical traditions that makes for a sonic journey, taking as much influence from African rhythmic practice as it does from minimalism, electronic music and the transcendental nature of ambient music and spiritual jazz.
This release is the organic output of spontaneous experimentation with friends, and was entirely recorded in our homes in Manchester and Cumbria.
Each tape features a hand-printed linocut by Kitty Hopking.
100% of profits from this release will be donated to Kids of Colour and Colours Youth Network.
Kids of Colour is a Manchester-based organisation that provides a platform for young people of colour to explore race, identity and culture and challenge the everyday, institutionalised racism that shapes their lives.
Colours Youth Network supports young Black and people of colour who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex (QTIBPOC) to explore and celebrate who they are through meaningful connections to other young people and a team of experienced QTIBPOC youth workers.
Seth Sutton: Gamelan, percussion & homemade instrumentation
Abel Selaocoe: Cello
Callum Connell: Saxophone & flute
Simmy Singh: Violin
Beka Reid: Violin
Tom Burford: Production, balafon, gamelan, percussion, drum machine, synthesizer, RE20 space echo & field recordings
Mastering: Dominic Clare @ Declared Sound
Tape Duplication: Tape Line Stockport