Balafon Sketches began as a series of live jams in Cumbria. Percussionist and producer Contours & instrument builder, musician, painter and ceramicist Seth Sutton experimented with balafons and a gamelan alongside Sutton’s homemade string and percussive instrumentation. The tracks’ foundations were built running these elements of tuned percussion through delay and reverb pedals, experimenting with interlocking polyrhythms and the overtones and textures created by the raw recordings.
Contours built upon these recordings utilising a range of live instrumentation such as synthesizers, drum machines and other organic percussion. He worked alongside several instrumentalists: cellist Abel Selaocoe and saxophonist/ flautist CallumConnell feature on ‘Keld’, violinist Simmy Singh on ‘45npr’, and violinist Beka Reid on ‘Eastern Bells’.
Balafon Sketches sees the coming together of electronic and organic instrumentation. It crosses musical traditions that makes for a sonic journey, taking as much influence from African rhythmic practice as it does from minimalism, electronic music and the transcendental nature of ambient music and spiritual jazz.
This release is the organic output of spontaneous experimentation with friends, and was entirely recorded in our homes in Manchester and Cumbria.
Originally self-released as a limited cassette run in July 2020. Balafon Sketches now sees a limited edition vinyl re-issue courtesy of new Stockport imprint 'Net Of Gems'