Artist: Phill Smith
Album: Vain Life in the Orchid House
Release Date: 19/11/2021
Genres: Dark Ambient, Experimental Electronic, Noise, Drone
Formats: Digital, cassette
Location: Omaha, Nebraska, United States
Length: 38 minutes
Price: $6 digital, $10 cassette
Listen to and order the album or follow Phill Smith below:
A Message From The Artist
1. low in a cluster of ceremonial Magic (10:10)
2. woe to gnaw (5:52)
3. no comfort in infinite space (10:50)
4. vain life in the orchid house (9:12)
Drums, percussion, guitar, baritone guitar, bass guitar, mixing and SuperCollider software programming
Image created by Phill Smith, and the text by Caleb Neubauer.
Alex Inglizian at Experimental Sound Studios
More About the Album
Phill Smith’s approach to noise is both intuitive and intellectual. Having honed his skills with Omaha band Screaming Plastic since 2015, his solo output strives to recapture the feeling of improvising live with others through computer programming. The result is a highly expressive and unique blend of dark ambient, experimental electronic, noise and drone.
A multi-instrumentalist, Smith originally recorded a series of free improvisation sessions on drums, percussion, guitar, baritone guitar and bass guitar before feeding those sounds through a series of algorithms he wrote, playing with duration, pitch, editing and transposition.
He has chosen to use SuperCollider, an open-source programming language with a built-in synthesizer accessible through code. The result is a series of heavy, heady psych-noise numbers that thread between demonic and sublime. The decision to take this approach ties into his skills as a programmer, as well as the language’s highly democratic approach to music making.
Phill Smith creates a sort of machine-assisted improvisational technique. It may not be fully transhumanist in nature, but it represents a clever osmosis with technology and a fitting soundtrack to our nearly cyberpunk lives. More importantly it blends human creativity and passion with cold calculation, a union that produces an album unlike any other.
There is something both exciting and haunting about an album that was collaboratively created with a machine, yet still manages to rouse very real human emotion in the listener. This aspect of the release may very well change many people’s preconceived notions regarding human creativity.
This is an album that must be experienced in full in order to create an informed opinion regarding the creative process.