The debut full-length resulting from the collaboration between composer/producer Britton Powell and two Berlin-based artists, the British composer/cellist Lucy Railton
and the electronic artist Brian Leeds (Huerco S), who fell into alignment in December of 2018 amid a handful of immersive and improvisatory recording sessions held at Gary's Electric Studio in Brooklyn, New York.
At the outset of these sessions Powell presented a series of compositional sketches anchored around multi-tracked electronics and acoustic percussion. These concepts were then used as the framework for collective improvisation, with the musicians working on instinct and layering as many as eight separate takes across a track. A portion of the record also reflects moments that are purely spontaneous – in-the-moment invention with Railton on electronics and cello and Powell and Leeds working on laptop computers.
The composition process involved little in the way of overt instruction, instead favoring discussion on more abstract notions of feel and energy. As a result, the final product was a bit surprising to all involved. "I don't think the three of us had any idea how heavy and physical this thing was going to feel," reflects Powell.
Subsequently reduced, edited, and collaged by Powell over the next two years, Pilled Up on a Couple of Doves presents a succession of alien moods. Gauzy textures are buoyed by extreme low end pressure. Serene industrial hum illuminates the rhythmic beating of waveforms. The sounds frequently evoke opposing emotions—tenderness and anxiety, claustrophobia and transcendence.
The record culminates in 20-minute closer "49 Days," where gradually unfurling textures for cello and electronics mirror the overtones of a ringing gong. It's unsettling, but deeply meditative.
A map of liminal space. Music to get lost to. "One thing that's important in relation to my work with music is to access a place outside of physical space," says Powell. "To pursue music as a tool to reach a place outside of physical existence."
"There's something really simple, innocent, and timeless about working with acoustic percussion instruments," explains Powell.
"I think that they allow for a very true examination of sound. It feels vulnerable and really powerful at the same time.
PDP III is formed of composer/producer Britton Powell, composer/cellist Lucy Railton
and electronic artist and producer Brian Leeds, aka Huerco S.