Brewster is an English musician, producer and sound-explorer currently
living in Malmö, Sweden. His interests include field recordings,
ultra-melodic song-structures, dense digital processing, cryptically
evocative lyrics, improvisation, atmospheric sound-design, evolving
counterpointed melodies, noise, audience participation, intricate
rhythm patterns, spoken-word, no-input, bells, spontaneous collaborations,
and the sounds of giant seed pods.
a hovering insect mass breaks your fall' is his fourth album, and
the first to be released under his given name. It came out in March
2011 on the UK label Make Mine Music. The record features six guest
vocalists – including Nick Talbot of Gravenhurst (Warp Records)
and Albanian opera singer Egzona Gervalla – as well as vocals
from James himself on some tracks. This album also incorporates
a wider variety of sounds, ideas and influences than any of his
previous work. Read more about the album and see the artwork at
the release page here.
release was preceded by a free download single, also on Make Mine
Music. This features a cover of 'The Great Dominions' by The Teardrop
Explodes, as well as a reworking of 'Crumbling spires' from the
album. This new version of the track incorporates a passage from
the W.H. Auden poem 'In Memory of W.B Yeats', read by Falko Teichmann.
music has previously been played on BBC national radio programmes
'Mixing It' and 'Late Junction', as well as on other stations in
the UK and around the world. It has also been used for ballet performances
in Japan. In addition he has made music for short films, both creating
soundtrack compositions in the studio as well as performing scores
live at film screenings. He has toured the UK, and played at a venue
depicted on a Swedish banknote.
has also collaborated with a wide variety of other artists –
both live and on recordings - including SJ Esau (Anticon), Andrew
Broder and Tim Glenn of US band Fog, Lorenzo Senni (Presto!?), Guy
Bartell (Bronnt Industries Kapital / Get Physical), Dave Collingwood
(Gravenhurst / Yann Tiersen), Jasper Leyland (12x50 / MOAR), Swedish
guitar improv trio Halster, and Andreas Beraha, with whom he forms
the drone-rock duo Denied By Character.
Brewster began making music in late 2001 in Bristol, England, inspired
by the city's vibrant DIY scene. Over the next seven years he released
three albums and three EPs under the moniker Mole Harness (on various
labels including Float, Silent Age, Umi and Kesh, as well as on
his own Stray Dog Army imprint). In late 2008 he ended the project,
deciding that it couldn't be taken any further. He had also started
to feel creatively restricted by the relatively defined sound of
Mole Harness (which focused heavily on intricate guitar structures
and subtle electronic processing).
then all solo performances and recordings have been under his given
name, the sole exception being a 2008 EP under the moniker Centreless,
which consisted of abstract digitally processed sounds and painstakingly-edited
field recordings. Brewster now lives in Malmö, Sweden, having
moved there in mid-2006.
is currently working on a new album of corroded pop music, provisionally
entitled 'Tales in brick dust' and set for release later in 2011.
This fifth full-length will feature new collaborators and a wider
variety of instrumentation than before.
performances and collaborations
live regularly, Brewster often relies on improvisation to a greater
or lesser extent, and appears both solo and in collaboration with
a wide variety of other artists. Performances often revolve around
the real-time sampling and digital processing of sounds from a variety
of different instruments and objects. His most regular live collaborator
is Peter Henning, and in early 2008 the pair started Motvikt: a
regular night in Malmö dedicated to experimental, improvised
and electronic music.
is also involved in organising the unique Malmö open-stage
event Café Montag, and has played regularly at Klubb Kristallen,
arguably the the city's most innovative club night. On one of these
occasions he took over one room of the venue, filled it with instruments
and encouraged anyone entering the space to perform with him and
provide sounds, as part of an evolving improvisation which lasted
the entire evening.
concert at HBC in Berlin in December 2010 provided the perfect opportunity
to – for the first time - invite other performers to help
interpret and arrange music from his solo releases. After a single
rehearsal, the trio of James Brewster, Falko Teichmann and Daniel
Goody performed versions of tracks from 'As a hovering insect mass
breaks your fall', as well as new material from the in-progress
fifth album, a cover of 'When the world' by The Durutti Column,
and an interpretation of W.H. Auden's poem 'In Memory of W.B Yeats'.
Brewster has also worked as a recording engineer, producer, arranger
and sound-designer for other artists, as well as advising and teaching
in production and experimental sound-processing techniques. People
he has worked with in some of these capacities include Field Agent
Slow Learner, Drew Taylor, Jasper Leyland, Lotta Allard, Early Me
and Linnéa Carlsson.
: electroacoustic café
latest project is a café which is also an interactive sound-installation.
James Brewster is also a professional barista who has competed in
'Latte-Art', and came second in the 2010 Swedish Championships in
Stockholm. With Fragment he uses contact microphones to turn coffee-making
into a live sound-art performance. As a result, high quality espresso-beverages
are served within a unique sonic-environment. For more information,
films about the project and sound samples: