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Listen to Absent Personae by Kepla & DeForrest Brown Jr

September 2017

Sound artist Kepla and music writer DeForrest Brown Jr collaborate on a record originally commissioned by Electronic Voice Phenomena

Liverpool based sound artist Jon Davies, aka Kepla, and New York resident music writer and curator, DeForrest Brown Jr, have collaborated on a sound piece which will soon be released by NYC label PTP. The work is a melding of Brown's private recordings in public environments and Davies’s digital processing of found social media audio.

“We wanted to etch a narrative into the sounds and into the space” says Brown. “I used my headphones’ generic mic to record these blunt, whispered passages that I'd read in random orders while either running or lying down. The recordings were not discriminatory of what it picked up of my voice or its surrounding sea of data.

“The spectre of Absent Personae sort of emerged out of a desire to catalogue and really consider black history as a part of the genealogy of the industrial waves and their mass internal movement within the body of the Americas, especially in the context of great black migrations.”

Speaking about how the pair worked together, and their starting points, Davies says: “Absent Personae was a culmination of conversations DeForrest and I had over timezones, where we’d catch each other on work breaks, first thing in the morning or last thing at night. We began by talking about the ecology of ephemera, or what we consider ‘cloud’ substances, so gestures, words, data, but rather than these things being fleeting, we thought about the congestion and physicality becoming indelible to our psyche.”

You can watch a video for the album's digital bonus track “Absent Personae Postscript”, with animation by Chris Boyd, here.

Absent Personae is is released on 29 September 2017 and available for pre-order via PTP. It was reviewed by Nina Power in The Wire 404. Subscribers can access the full article via the online archive.

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