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When Robert Ames and Ben Corrigan started crafting the seven tracks on their debut album as CARBS, they were having fun. Corrigan, a composer and podcast host, and Ames, a conductor, composer and curator, are often the people who bring other artists’ music  to  life.  On CARBS,  they  had  the  opportunity  to  explore  their  voices  as music makers, taking inspiration from their robust history of collaborations and passion for electronic and classical music to create sound that’s both cinematic and danceable, built on lush harmony, catchy patterns and driving rhythms that form an outer space trance. Corrigan and Ames first met three years ago when Ames was a guest on Corrigan’s podcast, excuse the mess. 

The podcast is a place for creative collaboration: When an artist comes on to be interviewed, they’re also challenged to write a piece in a day with Corrigan. For Corrigan and Ames, working together on that first song was easy. They shared interests in classical and electronic music and music that finds ways to bridge those genres. “I've always loved dance music,” Ames says. “I was growing up listening to the Warp artists and dancing to Drum and Bass when I was a student in London at a time where it was really at its peak, and that's when I was studying at music college. So I had a very even love for both ofthose worlds.” “We were eating at the same buffet for  a  while”  Corrigan  continues  “and  that's  maybe  why  our  tastes  have  a  lot  of similarities. There's quite a nice crossover, a lot of the kind of darkness and some of the intricacy and that kind of thing can be found in both those worlds. And I was drawn to that.”From there, they’d go on to work on other projects, like the Manchester Camerata’s performance of William Basinski’s seminal work The  Disintegration  Loops. 

Corrigan and  Ames  began  to  imagine CARBS while  they  worked  on  those  other  projects, coming up with bits and pieces of the album’s tracks in their spare time. Towards the end  of  2019  they  had  time  to  focus  solely  on  their  duo  work,  hunkering  down  and shaping the threads of music into an album. The music the two artists made together seemed to grow from those outside collaborations: sweeping like the film music they compose  and  conduct,  electronic-based  like  recent  collaborations  with  artists  like Actress  and  Rival  Consoles.

When  writing  music  as  CARBS,  Ames  and  Corrigan complement each other. Ames finds himself drawn to glistening melodies and brilliant harmonies, while Corrigan enjoys working with intricate rhythms:“I’ll geek out all day on snippets of harmony. I'll go into the depths of time to pilfer stuff and rework it and play with it,” Ames says. “I  rarely  start  with  harmony  or  melody,  I often  start  with  something  rhythmic  or  a  sound  design  experiment,” Corrigan says. “There you can see a clear reason why [CARBS] works.”  CARBS features both  of these elements in spades, balancing reverberant, transportive harmony with crunchy beats and toe-tapping rhythms.

The material on the album is all original, crafted using a mix of Logic and Ableton. On some tracks, like “Space Hopper,” Ames’ viola peeks out  of  the  lush  fold,  echoing  into  cavernous  electronics.  Every  track  presents  these kinds of sonic layers, letting meticulous details unfold across the music’s cinematic plane.When  writing  the  music  on CARBS,  Corrigan  and  Ames  weren’t  driven  by  an overarching narrative or theme. 

Instead, they were driven by spontaneity. “It was a very joyful, pure music making process. And it  was just fun to,  without any  barriers, just make  some music and  see  what  came  out  ofthe other end,” Ames says.  “We were just enjoying sound, just enjoying bouncing ideas back and forth,” Corrigan says. “It felt like a sanctuary, a little pocket to just have a good time and really get stuck into writing some original music.”As  the  tracks  came  together,  though,  they  started  to  hear  it  as  some  kind  of otherworldly  fantasy.  (“We  accidentally  made  a  little  bit  of  a  sci-fi dance  album,” Corrigan  notes.) 

The  eerie,  wondrous  quality  of  the  music  felt  like  roaming  through outer  space,  and  they started  thinking  about extraterrestrial  travel  and  spaceships. There’s  a  starry-eyed  feeling  to  the  music,  too,  driven  by  it’s  effervescent  and sprawling atmospheres. “It ended up sounding, in my mind, like something kind of trippy,” Ames says. The feeling  of  joy  and  unbridled  exploration  are  perhaps  the strongest undercurrents of the album, all pulled together by  its dreamy, psychedelic album cover by Filipino-Australian visual artist Mark Constantine Inducil. The cheeky song titles draw reference from everything from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Total Recall

to the cosmos; the pulsing sound of the music instantly makes your head bob. There’s a  lightness  to  the  music,  despite  its  full-bodied  sound,  that  drives  the  album continuously forward. Ames and Corrigan set out to enjoy the music they made, and for us to enjoy it, too.


cu@the party Richter
Diamond Rain
Space Hopper
Citadel Of Kicks
Chrome Ocean