It’s been a busy 12 months for Marcus Woods.
The last year has seen him share a string of singles, a collaborative EP with Rebel Phoenix and become part of a new duo ‘m_ovements’ with Silent Ghost. Simultaneously the young producer has been working behind the scenes, padding out the immersive world his tranquil and serene sounds reside in. It’s all part of the plan for his debut album which will see him complete his transition from impressionable lo-fi bedroom producer to an original artist with a distinct identity.
‘Self-Portrait’ will drop via Burner Records on August 28 and it is available to purchase on vinyl via his Kickstarter. We have an exclusive look at first single from the forthcoming album ‘Ctenophora’ – is a lush, two and a half minute ambient piece.
Accompanied by clips of Ctenophora (comb jellies) with flashing strobes and graphics it’s a deliberate effort that spells out his ever-evolving aesthetic.
We caught up with him to chat about the creation of his new track and the importance of visuals in establishing his identity.
Did any regions, terrains or landscapes come to mind when creating ‘Ctenophora’?
Not exactly, to begin with, it was very much just a quick-fire piece; but once I loaded up the patch and hit record and began to play, I definitely felt that underwater-esque feel to it. I imagined sort of like a dark purple/blue surrounding the track; the Lego Star Wars sample (as stupid as it sounds) gave the track a glimmer of gold somewhere in the far distance; really deep underwater.
It feels reminiscent of the PS2 starter menu, was that intentional?
Hahaha, I guess most of the tracks I’ve been making have been like that. To be honest it wasn’t intentional but I definitely can see where you come from. Funny you mention the PS2 startup, on one of the tracks, I got the BIOS sounds from the PS2, so essentially I got the stems from the startup. I took one of them and pretty much threw it in a blender with the processing, it’s easily one of the most visceral tracks I’ve made.
What importance are you placing on visuals on the project?
The visuals are of the utmost importance for this project and pretty much moving forwards, mainly for the live set but also just to establish a sense of identity with my music. It’s one thing trying to paint a picture of the track with just the music, having the visuals to accompany brings it to a different level. The visuals are mostly generated from GANs, which are trained from 2 neural networks; essentially in simple terms, the AI makes the visuals from what it’s learning.
Demon Sanctuary, who recently worked on a video for The 1975 is working on some visuals at the moment with all of that stuff, including some other visual artists; it’s going to be really exciting once they’re all done and ready to go!
Were there any visceral emotions entangled in this improv piece at the time of creation or was it very much off the cuff?
As much as the track was off the cuff, I was feeling a huge mix of emotions at the time; I had been about a month into taking anti-depressants and I was extremely stressed with college, making the album, prepping the live set and personal stuff. It helped shape the album on the back end of the 16 month production period but it wasn’t the best way to feel. I’m glad I feel a whole lot better now and can emulate those emotions without having to truly feel them again.
Can you explain the title a bit and where it comes from?
When I finished the track, it had no title, but I knew it had that underwater feel to it. When I was listening back to the masters from the album before I turned it in, I was browsing through YouTube and videos of these things on Nat Geo called Ctenophora, or comb jellies.
They were just these beautiful jellyfish looking creatures that had these flashing iridescent lights going around them. I kept looking at more videos and that ambient piece had come on, the clips resonated completely with the track. The creatures were just floating with these crazy neon lights going around them and weren’t doing anything at all, they were just still. It felt like that ambient piece in comparison to the rest of the album; it’s the one track with very little going on, but still fitting perfectly on the album.
Watch the video for ‘Ctenophora’ below:
‘Self-Portrait’ is set for release August 28.
Click here to support Marcus’ Kickstarter for the vinyl for his new album.