An uncompromising and individual musician, Max Cooper has carved out his own artistic space between the worlds of emotional dancefloor experimentation, fine-art sound design, and endlessly varied attempts to examine the scientific world through visuals. One of a rare collection of DJs as comfortable rocking a techno stage at Awakenings as soundtracking a gallery opening, Cooper’s huge audiences in France, Germany, Netherlands and the US have made him a huge star outside his native UK.
The Kindred EP is Max Cooper’s first proper EP since his critically acclaimed debut album Human in March this year. Lead track Origins perfectly places a melancholy sample of Max’s regular collaborator, jazz vocalist Kathrin de Boer, in a bed of immaculate electronics and chiming thumb piano loops. Throwing Snow’s remix elongates the rhythm and adds layers of reverb, where deep house genius David August opens the piece up with new, wiggly synth work. The EP also comes with Through the Analogue Womb, a trippy analogue synth wigout, plus Max first overtly IDM track, a rework of contemporary classical piece Sleeping Land.
Originally a genetics researcher – one of the dance PhD crew like Caribou and Kode9 – Cooper has since left behind his academic career and expanded his musical palette to include psychoacoustics, 3D sound design and field recordings. He’s worked with artists including noted contemporary classical composers Michael Nyman and Nils Frahm; pop acts Hot Chip, Au Revoir Simone, BRAIDS, MMOTHS and Halls; pianist Tom Hodge and the alrady mentioned Kathrin de Boer of Belleruche. This first phase of Cooper’s artistic development climaxed with his debut album Human on FIELDS March this year, described by FACT as “impossibly gorgeous,” by Clash as “sumptuous, enticingly beautiful,” by Earmilk as “a religious experience”, and by DUMMY magazine as “wanting you to dance and cry simultaneously, and probably succeeding in doing so”.
Cooper has now had more than 6m plays of his work on Soundcloud alone, and his festival appearances range from experimental sets at MUTEK and sit-down gigs in Paris, to pounding out techno to 10,000 people at Awakenings and Igloofest – as well as big UK festivals like Glastonbury, Secret Garden, Bestival and more. Cooper has also been one of Resident Advisor’s top 20 live acts for the last two years, a Beatport artist of the year, and has a Momentum award from the UK’s PRS Foundation that tips the most upcoming UK artists each year.
In September 2014, Cooper launched his debut audiovisual show Emergence at the Decibel Festival in Seattle – an event that Decibel’s much respected curator Sean Horton described as “one of the five best shows we’ve ever hosted… I cried”. Performed entirely live and solo, Emergence is a one-man show that ties together Max scientific, experimental, musical and visual interests in a single banging festival artwork, which will premiere in the UK in 2015.
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