The long-running electronic music festival Moogfest has released a new EP featuring some of today’s most innovative electronic artists covering their favorite predecessors’ material. The five-song EP, Translational Drifts: Moogfest Volume 1, features YACHT covering Devo’s “Space Grrrl Blues,” Julianna Barwick covering Suicide’s “Dream Baby Dream,” Moses Sumney covering Laurie Anderson’s “O Superman,” and ADULT’s rendition of Pet Shop Boys’ “Shopping.” The standout track, however, is Dan Deacon’s closing number: a take on Brian Eno’s “1/1,” as he performs the classic track on a “computer controlled upright player piano.”
When I got the initial email about the comp and saw the list of artists available to cover I immediately thought about Eno’s Music for Airports. I often think about different airports are from when that piece was initially composed. I thought about how frantic and chaotic airports are now, how overwhelming they can be. From there I began thinking about how to best realize a cover.
I chose to “transcribe” Eno’s recording using Ableton audio to MIDI tools. After some cleaning of the MIDI I ramped the tempo to 999 beats per minute and recorded it being performed by a computer controlled upright player piano. To me the track somehow still maintains an ambient feel due to the new cluster formations that appear due to the insane speed.
I went with the player piano, over synths, as the instrument because my favorite performance memory from Moogfest was my four hour durational performance for player piano and electronics. I actually bought the piano off Craigslist specifically for that Moogfest set.
Moogfest 2016 will take place in Durham, North Carolina, having moved from its previous location of Asheville. Tickets are on sale here.