I’m Kelp

I want I'm Kelp to challenge the assumption that music is painted on a canvas of silence. Noise is this music’s canvas, and its palette consists of the kinds and amounts of signal present. It is tertiary music.

What is "tertiary music"? One way to think about the constitution of music is in terms of dimensions. Primary music, we could say, consists of merely rhythm. We make it by tapping objects together, creating interesting patterns and variations. As the patterns accelerate and gain complexity, we begin to perceive the rhythm as a pulse, then an oscillation, a thrum, and finally, when the series of rhythmic nodes has collapsed into a singularity, a certain pitch. Now, we can create secondary music by organizing several of these pitches in time. Though we hear these melodies as having their rhythm constituted where the pitch changes, in fact, on the physical level, all we've designed is a long series of oscillations, spaced apart with a frequency regulated by a higher-dimensional plan.

Pack enough melodies together and the structure becomes fuzz once again, a counterpoint fray so thick that the ear hears only the spikes and dips in volume or intensity, not its constituent melodies. A spike. A dip. A spike. A dip. At this point, we’ve managed to collapse melody into a singularity, just as we collapsed rhythm to get from primary to secondary music. If we accept this abstraction, then our tertiary music is principally the same art as that made by a group of primordial humans drumming around the fire—save that our blunt instruments, spewing indecipherable knots of pitch material, conceal a world of melodic and rhythmic complexity that bursts in and out of focus. It’s music about music, music that contains a history of sonic creativity.

I'm Kelp is an experiment in creating such tertiary music. The three tracks on this EP represent as many divergent conceptions of the "blunt instrument" that produces such music's sonic elements. "Desert Rainstorm" uses the drone of amplifier feedback to unite tonal chaos. In "I'm Kelp," conventional instruments disclaim conventional melodic continuity. Finally, "Avalanche" seeks to embrace tertiary music without abandoning tonality.

I hope you enjoy this project and would love to hear your thoughts.