Martin Steer, aka Bad Stream, pulls together a community of artists from his label, Antime, for an expansive collaborative project.
When faced with the creative limitations symptomatic of enforced isolation and an unprecedented disruption of the lives of millions, Martin Steer, aka Bad Stream, immediately began thinking in collective terms.
Sonic Healing was borne out of Steer sending a single guitar loop to 12 musicians from his label, Antime, who then improvised with the recording to create their own compositions. Collaging these individual takes on his initial loop, Steer created what he terms “a product of collective imagination”, a 39-minute continuous piece that moves from diaphanous ambient, through fever-dream jazz, to moody, throbbing electronica.
Enlisting the talents of Iranian artist Arash Akbari, Sonic Healing was then set to an undulating digital patchwork of technicolour blends, created using real-time processing and generative algorithms. The result is a meditative dedication to community and collaboration.
“Sonic healing does not ask how one person can deal with turmoil in their life alone, but how we can create new forms of being together with art as a mediator,” says Steer. “The title of Sonic Healing must thus be taken at face value.”
“This is the ever-evolving sound of progress from one emotional status to the next,” he continues, “music that wordlessly speaks of the changes around us, in our minds and our bodies. It is a unique album that reflects the extraordinary circumstances under which it was conceived and recorded, but also responds to them, transforms them.”
“In Sonic Healing’s visuals,” explains Akbari, “I tried to have a poetic and impressionist approach to create a bird’s eye view narrative of the always shifting and emergent behaviours of the nature that define our perception of beauty, hope, fear, harmony, chaos, and ourselves.”
“Our life enfolded in nature. A beautiful, chaotic, and cruel system with unexpected and linked phenomena. From the calmness of the shoreline to the anger of tidal waves, everything intertwined and shifting into each other in a blink of an eye.”
Sonic Healing features vocals from Underspreche, violin from Héloïse Lefebvre and Gabriel Hertrich, piano from Uri Gincel, bass and double bass from Oliver Lutz, saxophone from Uli Kempendorff, Kai Mader, bassoon from Sebastian Dali, percussion and drums from Ran Levari and Hanno Stick, Roland TR-606 and test equipment from Hainbach, visuals and design from Arash Akbari, guitars and FX from Martin Steer.
The record was mixed by Martin Steer, mastered by Ludwig Maier GKG and the logo was designed by Nat Brown.
Sonic Healing is out now, on Antime.