BAY 139 - Nightports w Matthew Bourne - Dulcitone 1804 (BAY 139)
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Nightports w Matthew Bourne - Dulcitone 1804 by Nightports
Formats: Digital (BAY 139E) CD (BAY 139CD) (500 copies)
Release Date: 24 May 2024

Nightports is based on a simple but unbreakable rule of restriction: only sounds produced by the featured musician can be used. Nothing else. These sounds can be transformed, distorted, translated, processed and reprocessed, stretched, cut, ordered and reordered without limitation.

Dulcitone 1804 is the fourth collaborative album by musician-producers Adam Martin and Mark Slater to be released on The Leaf Label, following a trilogy of albums with Matthew Bourne (2018), The Comet Is Coming’s drummer Betamax (2020) and double bassist Tom Herbert (2022). Nightports are reunited with pianist and composer Matthew Bourne, this time exploring a rare 19th century keyboard instrument called a dulcitone.

The dulcitone produces sound when felt-covered hammers hit a series of tuning forks, causing them to vibrate - a precursor to the now iconic Fender Rhodes, which took the same concept but was designed for electric amplification. It was invented by Thomas Machell in Glasgow in around 1860 and produced in small quantities for about 40 years. Dulcitone 1804 was produced on instrument number 1804, and is believed to be the first album made entirely on the dulcitone.

The album came about almost by accident, when Martin and Slater were at Bourne’s studio working on another project and spotted a small, unassuming instrument against the wall. “As Matthew does with all instruments he plays, the first sounds he made with the dulcitone were immediately beautiful,” Martin explains. “Somewhere between a celeste and a piano, it has a clear, bell-like quality that’s evocative of a strange other world. Something old and distant.”

While Nightports’ rule of restriction remains in place, the process has evolved over the years, and on Dulcitone 1804 they’ve taken a more spontaneous approach. The whole album was made in one day as a live improvised performance between the three. “We sampled and captured Matthew playing tiny fragments of ideas, which we then processed into warped, skewed instruments that we could use as part of our collective improvisation,” Slater continues. “It’s an imprint of us responding to each other – searching for space, making space, vying for space.” It results in a more immediate sound – melodic and free. A beautiful document of a forgotten corner of music history.

Dulcitone 1804 will be released digitally and as a limited edition of 500 CDs, with artwork by Split design.

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