Listen to any of Cut Copys three full-length records particularly this years striking, shimmering Zonoscope and youll be overcome by a sense of exotic locale.
Its not just because the synth-heavy, super-literate band hails from down under, or even because it finds inspiration in films set in fantastical locations, like the Amazon of Werner Herzogs Fitzcarraldo. At heart, deep down, the guys in the band are out for much more than just recording and performing top-notch dance music. Theyre in it for the adventure.
We decided to go to a whole bunch of places wed never really been to, said guitarist Tim Hoey of the current tour. Were very fortunate that we can actually go to Oklahoma and these places Id never thought Id get to see as a tourist, let alone with the band. Its cool going to these new places, buying records and meeting new people and stuff like that. Its really important to us.
So important that it directs their songwriting and production, from intimate electronic compositions to lyrics about running through a primal, jungle heathendom. Their sense of setting is even clear to the sonically challenged. Zonoscopes cover depicts a waterfall overflowing through skyscrapers in a massive metropolis.
Its a sense of fantasy theyve captured and catered to musics dance and electronica genres with so much natural ease that it manifested a 15-minute track, Sun God as Zonoscopes grand, emphatic finale. Its an ambitious quarter-hour of music that tracks its way through a euphoric, early 90s acid-house vibe that, inexplicably, never runs out of gas.
We wanted to capture that sensation where you put your headphones on walking around the city, or in your bedroom or out at the club, and you completely immerse in it, Hoey said of the track. The length really becomes kind of irrelevant. Its like it could go for another half an hour and have the exact same effect.
Hoey said when Cut Copy is done touring, the act will return to Australia to record its next album, but that immediate surroundings will be changed for sonic purposes.
That space was specific to what we wanted the sound of Zonoscope to be, and that helped shape the structure of the record, the sound of the record, everything about it. So when we start the next one, well wipe the slate clean again, he said. Wed like to do the same thing where we work on it ourselves and find a place thats inspiring to work in.
Rearrangement, re-purposing and re-appropriation are the vehicles that drive Cut Copys artistry, by drawing from an earlier time the late 70s and early 80s when the extent of purpose for synthesizer technology wasnt yet fully realized.
Theres something so warm and beautiful about those old synthesizers now, he said. So the real interesting part is using more modern production techniques on them, and to take them somewhere new.
Photo by Timothy Saccenti