Mole Harness was a musical project from James Brewster which existed between 2001 and 2008. He released three albums, two EPs and one mini album under this name. The music was mainly guitar-based and combined subtly processed tones with untreated melodic progressions to form intricate, evolving structures. Brewster has lived in Malmö, Sweden since mid-2006 but was born in the UK in 1980 and began making music in Bristol in late 2001 after buying a second hand sampler. The purchase completely changed his life, and from this point on making music became the main focus of his existence.

Over the next couple of years he became involved in an emerging electronic music scene in Bristol, and also become part of a diverse group of artists associated with the Silent Age label (who released his debut EP ‘Problems With Perspective’ in November 2002). Being surrounded by such a supportive, DIY oriented community proved invaluable during the early stages of his musical development, providing not only practical help and creative inspiration but also a vital sense of confidence in what he was doing.

The first Mole Harness album ‘All Your Memories Return At Once’ came out in March 2004 as a split release between Float and Silent Age Records. It crystallised his early sampler-based sound, combining layers of looped, reversed and sequenced guitars with sweeping synth melodies, intricate drum machine/ percussion sequences, simple piano motifs and unsettling found-sounds. In November 2004 Brewster started his own label, Stray Dog Army, and the first release was a Mole Harness EP collecting together the remaining tracks written or begun on the original sampler, which by this point had been replaced by a computer.

He then began working on a new album, using software for the first time which led to a significant change in the sound. It not only allowed for more detailed processing, but also more complex structures compared to the purely loop-based limitations of the sampler. He also decided to make this second album entirely from guitars, in an attempt to refine his sound to its essence and produce a more coherent, concise work. The result was ‘a present from the future’, which came out in January 2006 on Stray Dog Army.

Its release was then followed a period of rapid creativity, with all the tracks for a new album written by the end of May, and put together in a much more spontaneous manner compared to the intense crafting of ‘a present…’. Brewster then moved to Malmö, Sweden in June, making this third album the last Mole Harness release to be written in Bristol. Entitled ‘out of the walled pathway’, it came out in November 2006 on Stray Dog Army, and was defined by an increasingly minimalist approach. In March 2007 'a present from the future' was given a full-scale re-issue by Japanese label Umi.

Mole Harness ended on 9th December 2008, exactly 7 years after the project began on the same date in 2001. This event was marked by the release of a final mini album entitled 'flaws and characteristics'. The reason for the project's end was that it was always intended to have a very specific and coherent sound, gradually developed and refined with each release while always retaining the same essence. Brewster felt that there was nowhere else left to take this sound, and that most of his latest musical ideas didn't fit with it. So there was no way to continue without either repeating himself or destroying the sound he had carefully built up. It thus seemed best to leave Mole Harness as something complete and self-contained and then start again afresh. James Brewster continues to release music and play live under his own name and also as part of various collaborative constellations. For latest news on these activities go to his new website here. The first James Brewster album, provisionally titled 'Your life was but a trick of the light', is currently being finished and will be released sometime in 2009.

Mole Harness performed live with the minimal setup of sampler and electric guitar, often complemented by slide projections and films from longtime visual accomplice Jonathan Williams. He also worked with Knowledge Of Bugs on two very different live collaborations. The first was their soundtrack to Kenneth Anger's 1953 short film 'Inauguration Of The Pleasuredome', performed both at the Cube Cinema in Bristol and at the 2003 Ashton Court Festival. The second took place at the Museum of Modern Art in Oxford in February 2004, and involved playing and looping acoustic instruments and electric guitars in a more improvised set. In December 2006 Mole Harness undertook his first UK tour, playing a short series of dates alongside Jasper Leyland, with the two artists contributing elements to each others performances for the first time.