Phill Smith Joins the CDP Roster

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
Label: Independent
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

“This album is the result of approximately five years of on and off experimentation with writing software designed for musical improvisation and developing an abstract, heavy sonic palette in a solo improvisatory context. The central idea behind this collection of tracks is discovery — exploring what personal meaning, connections, and interpretations can be derived from the algorithmically generated sounds, titles, and album art. Each track can be thought of as one distinct expression of many possible paths through a given sound world for the listener to experience. You can almost compare this to hiking up a mountain: there can be many different routes to the summit, each with their own challenges and rewards, and every attempt on each route has its own distinct challenges, most of which are far beyond the control of the mountaineer. From this point of view, the album is a document of four summit attempts, each with their own bad weather, altitude sickness, and some amount of personal triumph.

Phill Smith


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)

Album Credits

Phill Smith
Drums, percussion, guitar, baritone guitar, bass guitar, mixing and SuperCollider software programming

Album Art
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.

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