Max Cooper produces elaborately detailed experimental techno informed by his scientific background. He accompanies his music with an immersive, three-dimensional audio-visual show, and designs and exhibits light-field installations. Making his debut with a series of meticulously designed tech-house EPs in the late 2000s, his sound gradually expanded, incorporating influences such as post-rock and neo-classical on ambitious albums such as 2016's Emergence. Cooper has collaborated extensively with vocalist Kathrin deBoer (Belleruche) and composer Tom Hodge (Piano Interrupted), and he recorded the 2020 full-length Glassforms with pianist Bruce Brubaker. Cooper started DJ'ing in the late 1990s and began producing soon afterward. He received a PhD in computational biology from Nottingham University in 2008, and worked as a genetics researcher at University College London, devoting his nights to making beats and spinning records. Despite serving double duty, he managed to put out a huge amount of material, releasing ten EPs between 2007 and 2010 on labels such as Evolved Records and Traum Schallplatten. He then made the decision to pursue music full-time. He released several more EPs by the end of 2011, including releases on Last Night on Earth and Herzblut Recordings. Cooper also became highly productive as a remixer, taking unique looks at songs by Au Revoir Simone, Sasha, Hot Chip, and Michael Nyman. Continuing at a breakneck pace, he collaborated with visual artist Whiskas fX in 2012 to make a series of experimental videos and put out several more EPs, including a collaboration with Braids, Conditions One. The EP was one of the first releases on the London-based Fields label, which would issue much of Cooper's subsequent material. Cooper and Tom Hodge (of Piano Interrupted) released two volumes of Fragmented Self EPs in 2013. Cooper made his full-length debut in 2014 with Human. The album included the Braids' collaboration "Automaton" as well as two songs sung by Kathrin deBoer of Belleruche. Two Inhuman remix EPs followed. Cooper and deBoer also collaborated on Tileyard Improvisations, Vol. 1, an electronic jazz EP that also featured trumpeter Quentin Collins. At the end of 2014, Traum compiled Cooper's previous material for the label on the digital anthology Traum Collection. In 2015, Cooper and Hodge collaborated on an EP titled Artefacts, which was followed by a remix EP. Cooper's second full-length, Emergence, appeared on his own Mesh label in 2016. The album included additional collaborations with Hodge and deBoer. Emergence Remixed and Chromos EP followed in 2017. 2018 saw Cooper present the Balance 030 mix, for Balance Records, which featured appearances from some of his favorite artists including Tim Hecker and Rob Clouth. Later that summer, he delivered his third LP, One Hundred Billion Sparks, which conceptually focused on the visual idea of life's beginnings and the significance of neurons. One Hundred Billion Sparks Remixed was released in 2019, and included mixes by Synkro and Roly Porter. Later that year, Cooper released his fourth LP, Yearning for the Infinite, which explored the human desire to pursue the unreachable. The album, commissioned by the Barbican, was released in November 2019. Glassforms, a collaboration with pianist Bruce Brubaker which included several Philip Glass compositions, appeared on Infiné in 2020. Cooper's EP Earth was released the same year, and Maps, featuring vocalist Samad Khan, followed in 2021.
© Jason Lymangrover & Paul Simpson /TiVo
© Jason Lymangrover & Paul Simpson /TiVo
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Electronic - Released November 7, 2019 | Mesh
One is always very excited before starting a Max Cooper album, because the journey is always so unpredictable. After One Hundred Billion Sparks in 2018, which was composed by dissecting different sound matter in a small Welsh village, Cooper was commissioned by a British cultural institution, the Barbican Centre in London, to create a soundtrack to accompany an immersive audiovisual show as part of their programme around the theme of “Life Rewired”. With his background in molecular biology and his track record of other audiovisual experiences, Cooper was the perfect candidate for the job; he quickly proved his ambition diving headfirst into a “musical transposition of the infinite”, inspiring himself from the Kabbalah and from the work of German mathematician Georg Cantor (who proved the existence of several versions of infinity). Thus Max Cooper created a sort of “chaos generator” by collecting different fragments from his improvisation sessions. “It all got quite out of hand with more than 200 layers of audio on some pieces, which was a massive headache to work with… But it was a good challenge!” The end product, which is perfectly coherent as a standalone musical album, is a feast of harmonies and of sonic and spatial exploration, with sounds (drone, arpeggiated synth, electronic thunderstorms, clanging metal) always in movement, but which remains perfectly accessible, much like the single Perpetual Motion with its layers of fluffy synths. An album to listen to with your eyes wide open. © Smaël Bouaici/Qobuz
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