Having gained widespread acclaim for Slow Walking, his 2019 album for Polar Seas Recordings, UK ambient artist Moss Covered Technology is set to return with a new LP, Seafields, on March 26. Listen to his guest mix below, and read on for our interview where he tells us about his new record, production secrets, and special moments of inspiration in nature.
Name: Greig Baird, making music as Moss Covered Technology
Hometown: Plymouth, UK
Where you live now: Exeter, UK
Home away from home: Scotland. My father was from Scotland, but I was born and grew up in the west country. My wife says if I was Scottish I’d make much more sense.
Last book you read: I dip in and out of books all the time, especially photography books. The last one was a small book about Lewis Baltz’s work. I’ve also recently enjoyed Will Ashon’s book Chamber Music about the genesis and creation of the Wu-Tang Clan’s 36 Chambers album and also the audiobook of Questlove’s Creative Quest all about creativity in all kinds of fields.
What instruments and gear do you use most when writing and creating music? The things I use most when creating work are the DSI Prophet 12, a small modular set-up and an array of foot pedals and a looper. The synths are loosely sequenced sometimes with a couple of Arturia Beatstep Pro’s. More recently I’ve been using the Monome Norns with the OP-1, and running the Prophet through the Norns from time to time. In terms of the DAW I use Ableton and some third party plug-ins plus some of the native Ableton plug-ins for mixing. I tend not to be creating sound within the DAW at the moment, but I’m not averse to it. I’m using it more just as a recorder and mixer in terms of the moss covered technology work.
Your new album Seafields comes out this month on Dronarivm. Do you consider this your first major release since 2019’s Slow Walking? If in major release you mean a full album then I’d probably say yes. Since Slow Walking I’ve had two shorter releases out, Once Hallowed (Healing Sound Propagandist) and Quiet Loops (Dewtone). Both of those collections happened very quickly in terms of release and creation. I wasn’t really expecting to release them but a few things transpired that allowed me the opportunity to do so. Seafields was something that took a little more time, so in that respect also you could call this
another major release.
Anything in particular that inspired the creation of the record, or themes/ideas incorporated? Seafields really came about as simply a response to a particular day I spent on the coast near to where I live. It was just after the end of the first COVID lockdown in the UK. Spending time at the beach and visiting the sea is something I do on a regular basis. I’ve always been in the privileged position of living near the coast and it’s something that has seemingly become very important to me. When the lockdown restrictions were lifted in our area, my family and I went to the beach for a walk, something we couldn’t wait to do! I don’t think I’d go as far as to call it a spiritual experience, but I was definitely inspired by that single visit to that particular place at that particular time. The cover for Seafields is a view of a structure you may recognize if you know the South West of the UK and the East Devon coast in particular. It wasn’t taken on that day I mentioned but it is near the location. You could say that during that visit I decompressed a little and threw off some of the stresses that I’d accumulated during that initial lockdown period. It also helped us to put things into perspective a little during a very odd time.
Is this your first release for Dronarivm? How did you link up with the Moscow-based label? It is my first release on Dronarivm. The link up for the album actually came about through Ryan Bissett aka Halftribe. He asked me if I’d like to submit something to the label. I didn’t really have an album I was working on at the time. I had work I was making but not really in view of a cohesive release; just making stuff, experimenting. Then I started working on what would become Seafields. I’ve been speaking to Dmitry Taldykin (Dronarivm) on and off on Messenger for a number of years. I think I introduced myself and asked if they take demo submissions years ago. Maybe since then we’ve shared our releases with each other and just kept in touch.
What physical formats are planned for the album? Seafields will be released digitally and via CD.
Can you pick two tracks from your mix and tell us a bit about them? Yeah, there’s a couple of tunes about 3/4 into the mix, one that I’ve been enjoying for a while and one that is fairly recent. Both of them are piano led tracks. I say this only because I’m personally usually drawn to more electronic timbres as ambient music goes. The first is “An Iken Loop” by pianist Tom Rogerson with Brian Eno from the 2017 album Finding Shore. I love this track. From what I understand of the album it is based off Tom Rogerson’s improvised playing with Eno employing a Moog Piano Bar to trigger midi messages via the notes Rogerson is playing via
infrared or some such. The whole album is great actually. This track (and album) also provided the perfect soundtrack to a trip my daughter and I took to a place called Start Point on the South Devon coast last October. It started
to rain as we made our way back to the car. We sat there looking out at the coastline and vast expanse of water, a bit damp from the rain, and “An Iken Loop” playing on the car stereo. A moment of bliss. The second track is from Belly Full of Star’s Kim Rueger. It’s called Belle Marches and was featured on the recent compilation, Music for Another Sky from James McDermid’s Mailbox label. The compilation was put together to raise money for the domestic abuse charity Refuge in the UK and released at the end of January this year. Kim’s track is one that I really enjoyed and really wanted to put it in this mix. I’ve only become aware of Kim’s work in recent months but I’ve been really enjoying it.