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Max Cooper previews songs from his new album “Yearning for the Infinite”, with a 2-hour AV set at Belgrave Music Hall in Leeds. Spanning visceral ambient techno to industrial glitch dubstep Max Cooper had the crowd bouncing at the ends of his fingertips.
The lights fall dark on the Belgrave stage as a silhouette of a man calmly steps up to his impressive, 2 and a half metre wide desk of live electronic music technology. A light buzz fills the air. Suspenseful crowd members yip to bear tribute to an artist whose conceptuality tackles the big questions of who we are and why we are. Suddenly the screen behind Max Cooper starts to billow with computer generated images, flooding the stage with light. The roaring speakers hold a harmoniously dense saw-tooth chord, accented by an undercurrent of bubbling industrial glitches puncturing through the wall of sound.
Every eye is transfixed on the screen as Max’s signature visuals unfold behind him. It’s no surprise that a musician with a PhD in computational biology has strived to create music which compliments his passion for the natural sciences, and the visuals were no exception. The artistry spanned from bird’s eye drone shots, which zoomed out on time lapses of bustling New York road crossings, to highlight the geometry and balance within everyday life; to computer programmed micro-organisms that had been programmed to portray mitosis and other crucial biological processes.
Max is best known for his ‘effervescent ambient techno’ but the gig displayed inspiration from everywhere. At its most soothing moments, warm Jon Hopkins type synths were met with Machinedrum-esque percussion on tracks such as his new single “Perpetual Motion”. This paired beautifully with the intro track form his 2014 EP “Kindred”, which leans more towards the acoustic glitch percussion synonymous with Bonobo and Four Tet. The scope of Max’s art was clearly apparent as he expertly mixed these much more calming tracks with Spirit Catcher’s “Superimposed”, a song which boasts a classic heavy techno aesthetic, interspersed with huge industrial white noise.
Just two weeks after having discovered this artist, I hoped that the gig would cement Max Cooper as one of my favourite recent discoveries. I think it’s safe to say it has done so; and done so brilliantly. More than once did I reach for my phone to Shazam a track, to be disappointed at the ‘no results found’ message. But thankfully, with Max Cooper’s 14th album project “Yearning for the Infinite” set to be released on November 7 th , I can find solace in the fact that I may yet hear the mystery tracks again.
By James Lear