Brooklyn based artist Moldover is redefining the art of live sample manipulation and bringing the concept of controllerism to the world at large. For those not familiar with controllerism Moldover explains, "it's just like turntablism, but instead of using turntables and a mixer to make music, I use software and a controller". A simple concept indeed, but to see it realized with Moldover's carefully honed techniques on a piece of hardware resembling Frankenstein's Monster, is a remarkable experience. Electronic music performance may never be the same.
Moldover is frequently billed as a "live mashup DJ" or "sound collage and cutup artist", but to use these common terms is something of an understatement. In the first few minutes of a typical set, Moldover sets out to destroy your whole concept of what recorded music is. Grabbing chunks of sound from hundreds of songs in countless styles, he transforms triggered samples into complex and expressive musical gestures. In Moldover's own words, "I've been meticulously sampling my favorite bits of pop culture for years now. Every sound bite I play comes from some piece of music or film that I feel truly passionate about. Everything is played in it's original, unedited form. I'll let you hear a few bars of a classic tune and then rip it apart, twist it around, layer it with a bunch of other elements and slap it back together before I move on to the next thing. Absolutely all the blending, chopping and tweaking I do is happening live". Download one of the free mixes posted at Moldover.com and hear for yourself.
For someone who invests so much time into digital audio manipulation, the choice of controller is crucial. For several years now Moldover has been performing with the Novation Remote-25SL. Following his ethos of leaving no tool unmodified, Moldover attacked his Remote with soldering iron, epoxy resin and rotary-grinder to create a one-of-a-kind performance instrument. It seems that bending hardware to his own designs was the next logical step in Moldover's approach to controllerism. He explains, "I've gotten deep enough into music software that I can create pretty much any virtual instrument (mixer, whatever) I dream up. But after the virtual side of things gets to a certain level, you realize it's time to start tweaking the hardware to match. The Remote is a great piece of gear for modifying. I don't think there is any other controller on the market with the sheer number and variety of sensors that it has. I added a little here, took a little away there, and wound up with a totally unique controller that seamlessly integrates into my software setup". Like something out of a post-apocalyptic cyber-punk future, Moldover's Remote25-SL is hot-rodded for extra ruggedness, expressive control and intuitive layout. Check out the videos and forum on controllerism.com for details on how to make your own customized Novation Remote-25SL.
So what's next for the self-proclaimed Musical Supervillain? Previews of Moldover's unreleased debut album are online now. Imagine Jimi Hendrix mud wrestling with Squarepusher on Soul Train and you'll have some idea of what the sound is like. Moldover elaborates, "This album is inspired by all the music I've been chopping up in my live sets for the last three years, but everything is composed from scratch and performed entirely by me. I played every instrument I could and programming everything I couldn't. It's about the most personal way to create an album I can imagine". As Moldover's strangle hold on the multiverse grows ever tighter, beware the wrath of his debut solo album: coming out this fall.
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Photography by Sarah Peet.