Embracing diversity of sound as his methodology to create distinctive music, Colin de la Plante aka The Mole is an artist who knows how to dig through trenches of sonic obscurity and wonder.
His most recent album is no exception to that testament as returns to the Circus Company imprint for a multi-format release of the ‘The River Widens’, which was originally a limited cassette-only release via Eddie C’s Red Motorbike. Across 21 intricate pieces of work, The Mole manages to tick more boxes than required, covering ambient mood setters to dance floor hypnotism, with some impressively nonchalant mid-tempo grooves that evoke a plethora of rousing moments.
Given his meticulous attitude to making music, we expected nothing short of a unique approach from The Mole when we invited him to join The Guest List and share 10 tunes that he’d like to impress on us. “It is a collection of songs that use diverse sounds as part of their composition. What this meant for me was excellent use of sampling and synthesis techniques, as well as diverse instrumentation and arrangement ideas,” describes The Mole.
He continues to elaborate, “The words I determined by chance operation in a fashion directly inspired by John Cage. This was my first time using dice for anything other than gambling for glory (never money, there were always addicts involved.) I used six books and four dice. One die determined the book, two dice the page, the last die determined the sentence. I enjoyed it far more than I expected. Thank you.”
We hope you enjoy the abstract beauty of The Mole’s selection for The Guest List below.
Doctor Rockit 'Café de Flore'
Since the Spirit’s omnipresent, there’s a difference in things but no difference in spirit. McLuhan was able to say, “The medium is the message” because he started with no concern for content. Or choose quantity, not quality (we get quality willy-nilly) : i.e. we’d like to stay alive, the changes that are taking place are so many and so interesting.
In this context, scholarship becomes a celebration of the uniqueness and variety of humankind. A study of African music must tell you something about what it means “to live” in Africa. An understanding of African music may lead to an understanding of the amorphous background of cultural forms, but it should also tell you something about how to find a friend or what to do at a dance or how to behave in a street.
Moodymann 'Tribute! (To The Soul We Lost)'
Four PM, we go hunting for mushrooms. “Another part of the forest”. Discussing her travels, a lady mentions she’d been to Mallorca. When asked where that was, she said she had no idea. “We flew.”
Soulphiction 'The Media (Pt. 1)'
The MECHANISATION of writing mechanised the visual-acoustic metaphor on which all civilization rests; it created the classroom and mass education, the modern press and telegraph. It was the original assembly-line. Gutenberg made all history available as classified data: the transportable book brought the world of the dead into the space of the gentleman’s library; the telegraph brought the entire world of the living to the workman’s breakfast table.
Theo Parrish 'Solitary Flight'
The first example comes from a poem that Tennyson wrote when he was, I think, thirteen or fourteen. He destroyed it; but, happily for us, one lined survived. The line is: “Time flowing in the middle of the night.”
Stevie Wonder 'Race Babbling'
Sometimes the priest poured the libation, sometimes Gideon, sometimes all three of us. Before most of the libations, four or eight cowrie shells would be thrown, particularly when the libation was not simply a matter of asking for help or recognition.
'Vakula - JVM'
(The conversation drifts for a while, and the young children are getting sleepy. After they are bedded down on the porch of the summerhouse an elderly man sings a two-note chant for a while. This is followed by silence and cricket-song. Then the first speaker begins again.)
Rednose Distrikt 'Hoor’s'
Seeing he had nothing to do, they fired him. WE’RE GETTING RID OF THE HABIT WE HAD OF EXPLAINING EVERYTHING. Margaret Mead’s idea re metropolitan transportation (Duchamp had same idea in ‘twenties): private cars parked at city limits; city cars used as one uses carts in super-markets and airports, abandoned at one’s destination. Police busy returning cars to parking lots, getting them serviced or repaired whenever necessary.
Caetano Veloso 'How Beautiful Could A Being Be'
In the introductory Kadodo section of Adzogbo, the bell plays a simple rhythm throughout. Kidi also plays a simple rhythm, consisting of three beats hit freely so that the stick bounces from the drumhead, alternating or broken with three beats which are muted by pressing the stick against the drumhead. Kagan improvises away from and back to the basic rhythm which converses with Kidi. It should be apparent that to assign either bar lines or time signatures would be rather arbitrary, and if we follow our tendency to place bar lines at the beginnings of the different phrases, we may become confused about the main beat.
Hermeto 'Velório (Mourning)'
The rooms must be kept very tidy, all boxes being placed near the walls; for if anyone were to stumble over them, the absent husbands would fall and be at the mercy of the foe. At every meal a little rice must be left in the pot and put aside; so will the men far away always have something to eat and need never go hungry.
Books referenced by The Mole:
John Miller Chernoff 'African Rhythm and African Sensibility'
John Cage - Diary 'How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse)'
Ursula K. Le Guin 'Always Coming Home'
Marshal McLuhan 'Counterblast'
Jorge Luis Borges 'This Craft Of Verse'
J G Frazer 'The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion'
Arun Ramanathan is Mixmag Asia’s Director. Follow him on Instagram.