MG "The Third Chimpanzee" exclusive broadcast 28 January 2021
Join Martin on Thursday January 28th for an exclusive first listen of his brand new EP, live on Facebook.
Commencing at 3pm EST/8pm GMT/9pm CET, the full EP will be broadcast live through Martin’s Facebook page with Martin providing commentary during the stream. The Third Chimpanzee will be released digitally, on CD and on Azure Blue Vinyl the following day.
"To get the "vocal" sound, I recorded my voice and then resynthesized it. As I've mentioned before, the end result didn't sound quite human to me -- sort of like a primate relative. So, I called the track "Howler" after the howler monkeys that I've heard on many of my visits to Costa Rica.
It was only after we went into lockdown mode that I started to think about writing some more instrumentals, partly because I wasn't inspired to write lyrics.
I feel that it's especially hard to write lyrics when you barely leave the house, see anyone, or experience anything other than the same repeating day.
This track, Mandrill, was the second one I recorded.
After I had the basic beat for it, I had the idea to resynthesize more of my vocals over the track to tie it in with Howler.
For people asking about gear, the vocals were resynthesised by sending them through part of my eurorack system, specifically the Rossum Panharmonium.
From here, the concept was born -- each track would feature a manipulated vocal and would be named after a monkey.
This song, Capuchin, was the third track I recorded.
I made the bass line using one of my favourite bass tools: the RSF Kobol (expanders I and II).
But first I started out with the beat you hear here, which felt a bit fun and wonky to me
And then the rest of the sounds created sort of a sci-fi western vibe on top of it.
Maybe you hear it? Maybe not?
I don't know, I feel like whenever a writer tries to talk the audience through the artistic thought process it never goes well. Maybe these things are best left unexplained…
This song, Vervet, was the last one I recorded.
More about gear -- here again I have used the RSF Kobol, this time combined with the Frequency Central System X modules in MU format, to create the bass sound.
I'm not sure exactly where this song fits on the darkness/fun scale. What do you think? My idea of dark is a bit off at the best of times, but I feel that the events of the last few years and the isolation of the pandemic have definitely shifted my shades.
I really like the slow build of this track. And even though there are a lot of elements involved at times, they fit nicely around each other and it never sounds too claustrophobic to me.
Anyway, after finishing the music and naming each track after a different monkey, it was time to think about a name for the EP. I got inspiration from a book I read a while back called The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee, by Jared Diamond.
In the book he makes the point that human and chimp genes differ so little that we should really be considered the third chimpanzee, after chimps and bonobos. And I loved the title The Third Chimpanzee for the EP as I felt the music referred to the blurred line between humans and monkeys.
And it felt especially fitting in a time when I question whether or not we are more evolved than our monkey friends on a regular basis.
For people asking about the artwork, I was struggling to come up with an idea for a while. Then, one evening, it hit me: I remembered that some monkeys paint.
I googled for a while and stumbled upon Pockets Warhol, who is a Capuchin monkey who lives at a sanctuary in Canada and he paints for recreation.
I reached out to the sanctuary via email explaining who I was and what I was planning and asked if they would be interested in getting Pockets to do the artwork for me. They got straight back to me, saying that they would love Pockets to be involved.
And I loved how this helped to blur the lines further between Humans and monkeys. The Third Chimpanzee was born.
This track closes out the EP. Howler's End is as the title suggests, the end of Howler. The music has really been stripped back to the main melody and its harmony, however.
Back to the western theme for a second, there is something about this melody that reminds me ever so slightly of Morricone soundtracks. Maybe you hear it? You don't have to.
Thanks for joining me and listening. I hope you enjoyed this little journey together!"