Interview: Alec Coiro
All Images and Video Courtesy of Digital Release
Digital Release is a musical trio that unites Brian Close and Justin Tripp of Georgia with Matt Werth. The music they make sounds is so organic that it comes as no surprise when Close tells us that they’ve been “playing music together for 30+ years.” This is there first time being recorded and the first time they’ve been able to — as Matt Werth puts it — “‘get free’ in the studio.” The freedom is palpable.
As musicians and artists the members have an ongoing creative relationship with threeASFOUR, as can be seen here for starters. So it is fitting that their soulful otherworldly music should serve as the remembrancer for the closing of threeASFOUR’s studio on Forsyth street, which if it hasn’t already earned the adjective “legendary”…give it time. As Close puts it, “When threeASFOUR’s studio lights were on, It meant magic was happening on that block.”
The esoteric emotions achieved through the music are matched by the meditative approach taken in the video.
Digital Release will be performing at Moogfest on Saturday and then hosting a workshop on Sound and Image Foraging on Sunday.
What is the origin story for DIGITAL RELEASE? How did you form and how much have you recorded together to date?
MW: The origin is family, family is fuel. Jeff Kuykendall approached us about making a cassette’s worth of music / sound for his Drawing Room Records. I know Jeff from growing up in similar circles of Little Rock, Arkansas, and appreciated the unassuming invitation. Justin, Brian, and I had collaborated in countless contexts over the years, but never had a chance to “get free” in a studio setting. With Jeff’s invitation, we settled into a few days of recording / exploring environments, and a few more months of editing and mixing to arrive at Positive Approach. To date, this is all that exists of Digital Release.
BC: DIGITAL RELEASE has been playing music together for 30 + years , and has a recording pool of about .5 hours so far
JT: DIGITAL RELEASE “POSITIVE APPROACH” is 2 x 5 syllables with a pleasing consonance. 5 is the rhythm and the consonance is the percussion.
Like threeASFOUR, the song “Root 2 Health” has a very unique personality to it. How did decide to pair this particular song with the closing of the studio?
BC: this was by accident, we are always filming, and making music. in this case it just so happened that the music was on the same drive as the documentary. Most of the work happens by temporal proximity. And vibe proximity. Whoever is around is a great starting point for whatever you want 😉
JT: It’s always better to have something to do at a party than to not. On that night, I decided to film because it was a good distraction. Brian and Kiki decided to initiate some music because it’s the best thing to have in the room. Luckily, these things coincided, which seems to happen a lot.
The style of the video seems to me evocative of memory/reflection. Do you have any special memories or associations from the threeASFOUR studio?
BC: Too many memories to list here. When threeASFOUR’s studio lights were on, It meant magic was happening on that block. One could always drop in and there would be people there, hanging out, recovering, creating , making a mess, eating food, working , hustling, dancing, learning, etc… it was one of those key frames in the wild animation of NYC
JT: I associate that space with a time when we had our studio on Canal Street, Ross Salvor had his studio/home upstairs, Know Wave and then Matt/Commend had their space down the block on Forsyth, Jessica Mitrani had her studio a short walk away in Tribeca, and so on and so on. It’s about a time in New York and a community of people and gathering spaces with threeASFOUR at the heart.
You don’t really ever need to try to evoke emotion. It’s always underlying. Especially when filming what was an emotional evening at a meaningful space and setting it to music made from a similar head/heart space.
What emotions were you trying to evoke with this video?
BC: Any emotion that comes out of space. Slowing down footage is immediately mutational and transdimensional….. Time is such a powerful part of our being. so really anything that shows up alchemically when its pulled and stretched out and shrunken and melted is welcomed by us.
JT: You don’t really ever need to try to evoke emotion. It’s always underlying. Especially when filming what was an emotional evening at a meaningful space and setting it to music made from a similar head/heart space. Even lack of emotion creates an emotional reaction so you just go forward intuitively and discover whatever emotion decides to reveal itself.
What can you tell us about the fire we see in the video that seems so ceremonial?
BC: that fire is Love
JT: That fire has as much to do with mischief as ceremony, which is what a good percentage of visitors to that studio were always after. Yin/Yang.
Finally, who plays saxophone, and what are you influences on the instrument? It’s style of playing unlike I’ve ever encountered.
BC: Everyone plays the sax in Digital release at some point, but in this song I PLayed a bamboo sax that I got from erik the flutemaker in florida (google) . But in the video, thats TV baby’s Matt McAuley , who was jamming with us live at 3as4’s studio during their final party…
Ny has a way with warping saxophones, The style is definitely influenced by living on canal street 🙂 Albert Ayler, and Autechre are also inspirations that start with the letter A …..
JT: Brian has a pretty unique way of approaching any instrument. He tends to approach his playing with abandon and not worry to much about any traditional skill or knowledge (tho he has those things) that people often feel like they need in order to play an instrument. This creates unexpected results and encourages others to follow suit.