Mutant Data Orchestra is
a band comprised of twin brothers. John Bain lives in Seattle and his
brother Mark lives in Amsterdam; they meet several times a year to work
on projects. To see them play together is like watching an important
moment in history. Not only is their music lively and constantly evolving,
but they play experimental music that's almost danceable, with melodies
weaving in and out from dub to Serge Gainsborough, mixed with sound
that independently stimulates your body and also forces you to question
what exactly is happening. It's aggressive, interesting, and you never
know what's going to happen next. The masses haven't caught on yet,
but these guys are reinventing music. I talked with the brothers Bain
after a recent show in Berlin.
Experimental shows are not always exciting, but when I see you guys,
it's like sitting down to a feast of a hundred dishes. With all the
textures you use, it's hard to get bored.
person who saw the show last night was saying how parts of it reminded
him of film soundtracks. He was looking at it as these sort of soundscapes.
not doing it for the audience, I'm doing it for myself, so if I get
bored I just break it down and try to find something new. If I find
something cool, I'll leave it going, so it's like this real time dialogue
set up with the machines. Last night Mark was playing these cool rhythms
I already [seemed to] have in my head. It's not techno, it's not drum
and bass, it's not a style; it's just cool rhythms, so we segue into
it without any problem getting into a groove.
It's refreshing, because when you listen to some experimental bands
your mind wants to find things, and that's part of the work. But you
give listeners something they don't have to find. You personalize it
and you don't need a melody.
like a deconstructive idea, rewriting the text as you read it. Some
of this music gets so dense in layers and frequencies that your mind
can navigate through and find the composition.
some performances I prefer people to wear earplugs so you can even crank
it up louder, so it's more of a body feel. When you deal with the body,
it circumvents the intellectual part. I find with a lot of experimental
shows that are difficult to listen to, you have to force yourself to
enjoy it. After a while it gets tiring.
I liked what you did at the end of the show with that single sound that
vibrated. I could feel my organs moving.
was using this mic, basically a feedback loop and pointed it at the
a really low frequency mic, so it picks up all the frequencies.
has a feedback controller, so he cuts out all the feedback and cranks
the gain. Anything that's not feeding back is just puffy. The way we
play is very simple: we have two lines going to the main mixing board,
then I feed my mix into John's and it becomes a competition of the sound.
I trust his aesthetics.
was talking with Voice Crack [a Swiss band that played after MDO] and
asked them if they work with MIDI at all. They said, "We don't
do that too much," and we said, "We don't do that too much
either, except that we're twins and we sort of have this MIDI with the
head. We have this mental MIDI."