When it is time for this trio to make new music, it literally goes to school.
For the past six years, electronic music group Forma’s home base has been the Schoolhouse, the former elementary school on Ellery Street in Bushwick that has been converted into a living and work space for local artists. It is there that band members Mark Dwinell and John Also Bennett reside, and also where Forma rehearses and records (the group’s third member, George Bennett, lives in Williamsburg).
“We fluctuate between playing in this big room with high ceilings and a smaller room that offers a more close environment,” said Dwinell. “Having both me and John living here too is conducive to us getting together and sharing ideas as they happen.”
That close proximity seems to be having an effect on Forma’s music, too. The band’s first two albums were more open and expansive, resembling early ambient experiments by artists such as Brian Eno and Cluster. But its new EP, “Cool Haptics” — which the band will launch at Williamsburg’s Output as part of the Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival on Nov. 6 — feels more tightly-wound, with a more dance-floor-friendly sound.
“We’ve been going to a lot of straight-up techno shows lately, and getting immersed in that world,” Dwinell said. “It was an unintentional choice to make this kind of dance-y record. It’s just what came out of us.”
The band members also point to their recent acquisition of new equipment — Eurorack-style modular synthesizers that don’t have physical keyboards, just knobs and switches used to adjust the sound — as a huge inspiration for this creative shift.
But although Forma’s sound is shifting towards more club-ready strains of synth music, the band’s strict adherence to recording and performing using physical instruments rather than plugging in a bunch of laptops remains.
“That’s always been an unspoken rule for this project,” said Bennett. “It’s certainly about physicality. For me as a performer, I like to have a physical knob to grab. Just moving your finger on a trackpad and clicking on something doesn’t make sense to me.”
Forma plays Output [74 Wythe Ave. between N. 11th and N. 12th streets in Williamsburg, (917) 333–1000, www.outpu
©2014 Community News Group
By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:
You agree that you, and not BrooklynPaper.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to BrooklynPaper.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.