Inspiration and thoughts behind the making of 'Natura' by Drum & Lace
I heard the sound of the cowbells on these beautiful creatures before I even saw them, and was immediately so inspired by it. This was in France while visiting family in 2019, and thankfully I'd brought my field recorder along. I ended up recording 5 minutes worth of cowbells, which became the opening of "Moss" and inspired a lot of the rhythm of the track.
"In August 2019, I took a vacation in my native Italy, up in the Emilia Romagna region, and stayed at the most wonderful farm house which was called Prasiano. It is here that I collected/recorded a bunch of sounds of water, chickens and general nature which became the beat and textural basis of the track "Prasiano". The first iteration of "Prasiano" was performed as a 'Live Ambient Improv' on location here (you can watch it here!)."
"A couple years ago, while working on a scoring project, I came up with an amazing drum and bass loop on my (Sequential) Tempest. That loop because the basis and ostinato that you hear at the beginning (and throughout) the track "Oe"."
"Nearly a year into the pandemic, I'd been missing performing live and came up with the idea of the 'Into Solstice' performance series, in which I performed at sunset for ten days leading up to the Winter Solstice and broadcast it on my IG Live. It went great- and one of these improvisational performances, which was performed using a Moog Mother32, DFAM and Subharmonicon, became the track "Waxing Crescent". The title of the track refers to the moon phase on the evening that the performance took place."
"The pandemic for me started with giving birth to my daughter (born at the end of March 2020), so she was very present and inspiring for the writing part of this LP. I made sure to document as many of the times that she came to the studio to work with me, which was very often in her first year of life, and this photo was from when I was patching my modulars to work on what became "Creatura". She was such a bit part of it, and what it means to me, that her baby cooing and last sonogram are part of the track."
"Just an ode to the place I spent the most time at, which wasn't my house, during the writing of this record."
As I was working on the track that became "Moss", there was the most incredible moss growing on rocks that I took so many photos of (this being the my favorite shot). When I got home, and had to save over my 'untitled' Ableton session, I decided to call it... "Moss". "
I had the pleasure of having the folks of the London Contemporary Orchestra play on my record- they're always exceptional! I wasn't able to travel to London, but we remotely recorded strings at The Church Studios at the end of March 2021 with Edward Farmer conducting and Fiona Cruickshank (of Air Studios) engineering. Shoutout to composer/artist Dabney Morris for the help with orchestration for this. We recorded strings for four tracks - "Armatura", "Canary", "Moss" and "Plantae".
"When it came time to figure out what the visual world of the LP was going to be, I was immediately drawn to the concept of the juxtaposition of natural and artificial elements in music and our daily life. So much of the record is based around wanting to use natural/acoustic sounds, but that ultimately end up digitized, and I came upon a style of architecture called "Jungle Brutalism" which to me seemed to capture the right vibe. This was a photo I took at the Getty Center, which I sent to 3D designer Carla Batley when we started working together."
"We shot the most amazing photos for Natura with photos taken by Priscilla C Scott. This is just a little bts shot and a thank you to her, and to stylist Claudia Cassina, hair/MUA artist Francie Tomalonis and photo assistant Daniel Hermosillo."
"Announcing joining the PITP family!"
About the album:
Natura was mixed by Paul Corley (Liminal/Sigur Ros) and mastered by Joshua Eustis (Telefon Tel Aviv). The record features the London Contemporary Orchestra (on Canary, Moss, Armatura, Plantae) and Italian drummer Valentina Magaletti (Nicolas Jaare/Lafawndah) on the closing track, Plantae. The LP was recorded, composed and produced at Drum & Lace's home studio in Los Angeles, primarily during the course of winter 2020 into early 2021. The strings were recorded in London at famed Church Studios, engineered by Air Studios engineer Fiona Cruickshank, and marks the second collaboration between Drum & Lace and the London Contemporary Orchestra, who are known for their extended string techniques and its innovative players.
Natura draws greatly from the juxtaposition of the natural vs artificial, exploring this concept through manipulated field recordings, voice, modular synth and string ensemble. The field recordings used had been collected by Drum & Lace over the course of several years, and continue her exploration of how found sound can be choreographed into modern electronica. As a contrast to the natural sounds, Natura also explores how synthesized analog and modular sounds can be made to feel like familiar organic elements, such as a human voice or the call of an animal. The overlap that modern technology has facilitated within sonic worlds was of great inspiration for the LP's visual elements, namely its cover, always treading the line between what is completely artificial and what is natural.