See also – Track-by-Track // Matt Robidoux – At Dust
What’s in a name? How did the title “At Dust” come about?
While working at Adobe Books, a volunteer run performance space, gallery, bookstore / artist collective I’m a part of in my neighborhood in San Francisco, I found a misprinted postcard of the cityscape with the caption: “San Francisco At Dust”.
I recall one of the projects you were involved in (Curse Purse) – had a chance to see your performance at Hasslefest back in the day and I recall it was very much a noise/improv project.
Hearing the title track on “At Dust” was…different. It reminded me of “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts”, the Eno/Byrne collaboration, very vibrant. Especially interesting to hear the upbeat vibe given the situation we’re currently dealing with.
Would you say you were influenced in any way by the said album?
That’s cool you saw Curse Purse back in the day! Yes, this music is very different. I hadn’t listened to “My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts” in a decade or so and this question was a good impetus to check it out again. I think I hear what you’re saying. The upbeat vibe comes from integrating more of a movement practice into what I do. The material that probably jumps out as such was recorded while confined in my apartment trying to find ways to stay buoyant mentally and physically in 2020. Another influence is that in my last semester at Mills College in 2019 I took a seminar called Music/Dance led by Zeena Parkins. The original idea was that we as composers would work with the dance department, but no dancers signed up! Instead the music students had to dance our own choreographies, which feels really connected to this work.
I see a long list of collaborators in the liner notes with some jumping out right away (Kris Force). Could you talk about them and what it was like working with them?
7 of the 10 collaborators on the record—Kris Force, Jake Parker-Scott, Mitch Stahlmann, Tony Gennaro, Adam Hirsch, Jake Parker-Scott, Tim Russell are friends from the sphere of Mills College. I know the other 3 collaborators— Ky Brooks, Matt Norman, Cody Putman from the underground! They’re based in New York, California, Montreal respectively. We worked together remotely in 1 of 2 ways: either I’d send a score with something in mind, or I’d just send a track and ask for 3-5 takes of an improvisation. In both cases there was a lot of improvisation.
When I wrote “Dinghy” I sent a score to Cody Putman (bassoon and coronet). What he sent back had such a vibe that I reconstructed the track around his parts. I think the tone of that one changed entirely through this collaborative process. When it felt ready I recorded percussion overdubs with Tony and sent it to Ky to add vocals, which perhaps I wouldn’t have thought to do with the original version. I’m pleased with how a sense of community permeates on the record, even though the collaborations happened remotely.
What have you been listening to lately?
Nana Vasconcelos – Africadeus – N. Angelo – Novelli
Beatrice Dillon – Workaround
Yoshio Ojima – Hands Some
Ka Baird & Pekka Airaksinen – FRKWYS Vol. 17: Hungry Shells
Bobby “Frank” Brown – Prayers Of A One Man Band
Any newer artists/albums you would recommend everyone to check out?
LCM – Signal Quest (Lynn, Cole, Mitch (Stahlmann – who plays on this record) network mapping world building project / futuretext soundscapes https://orangemilkrecords.bandcamp.com/album/signal-quest)
Ubaldo – Casa (Andreu and I played some of our first shows since the start of the pandemic together in Barcelona in summer 2021, at incredible spaces El Pumarejo and Cera 13. Casa is a concise and somewhat ambient-leaning document of his sprawling practice, which is deeply informed by improvisation.
Tarta Relena – Pack Pro Nobis (After hours at the aforementioned El Pumarejo there was an impromptu flamenco session. Marta from Tarta Relena was singing. The next day my partner and I did an all night drive to Bilbao, listening to “Pack Pro Nobis”, “Casa”, and Bakalao techno.
David Castillo – Hardly Working (David is the realest of the real. He’s a good friend and collaborator. When working a less than satisfactory record store job, he got there early and recorded his whole dang record there. Featuring a cameo from USPS Larry, others from the neighborhood, and beyond.
Lexagon – Feminine Care (Lexagon is a Bay Area artist working between the sound/performance/visual art worlds. I curate a local cassettes section at Adobe Books in San Francisco, and make sure to stock it with the latest releases from Ratskin Records. Feminine Care is one of the GOATS of the label, IMO.