James 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.

'As 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.

The 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.

James' 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.

He 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.

Background

James 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).

Since 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.

He 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.

Live performances and collaborations

Performing 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.

James 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.

A 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'.

James 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.

Fragment : electroacoustic café

His 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:

fragment-cafe.com