‘Never’ is a collaboration that fuses Zach Hill’s (Death Grips/Hella) frenetic drumming onto Lucas Abela’s textural glass noise. Zach’s drumming is used to generate rhythmical control voltages to interpolate his performances into Lucas’s glass sound using modular gear. The way they describe what’s going on here is that Lucas’ glass is like an oscillator or synth voice (powered by his mouth) while Zach’s drumming takes on sequencing and envelope generation duties. Essentially when they play together a myriad of parameters within various parallel effects chains are being automatically adjusted simultaneously by Zach’s performance. Each strike creating an envelope replicating its attack decay sustain and release that’s used to adjust settings within the modular system causing Abela’s sustained textural glass signal to be rhythmically torn apart by Zach’s drumming.
It’s beautiful, messy, terrifying and brutal. If you listen closely you can kind’ve hear the frantic pummelling drumming in the modulations. Or at least you can convince yourself you can, because the timbre is all the scratchy squelchy, glitchy chaos of Abela’s mouth on glass modular system. It comes from a six track EP Abela released in August, though there is a new limited 7″ 45rpm single comprising of the first two tracks from this EP on the way.
Ahead of a short tour at the end of the month we asked Lucas ‘Granpa’ Abela a couple of questions about the collaboration.
Cyclic Defrost: How did you come to work with Zach Hill?
Lucas Abela: I first worked with Zach in 2010 when we did an improvised duet at a side show I had organised for some of the drummers that were touring with the Boredoms. Then in 2017 he invited me to record some stuff while I was on tour for the Death Grips album Year of the Snitch so we have history.
During Covid I started working with modular gear and became obsessed with using envelope followers to sweep my effects settings while I played in any synchronisation with my glass playing and thought it’ll be fun to pass this job onto another musician so I had no control over it. I thought drums as then the sweeps would be rhythmical and seeing I was planning to go to the states again thought of Zach as his time signatures are confusing
Unfortunately I had VISA issues so trip was delayed so instead so I could experiment Zach sent some stems for me to work with which is how the single came about as we liked the results. We still plan to record together next month to produce an album so the single is a kind of teaser..
Cyclic Defrost: Did you talk much prior about what you were trying to create?
Lucas Abela: I told him my plan which was initially to not have his drums appear at all just the sense of them as they shifted my settings / but one day I decided to use my signal to ramp his stems using different frequencies to speed up and slow down different drums and popped Zach back into the mix which is what we used for the single as even though each and every drum pass is the exact same samples they are shifted differently each time and seem like different takes. I might even do this live during my upcoming launch tour
Lucas’Granpa’Abela = Glass Voice
Zach Hill = Sequencing and envelope generation
You can find Never here.
School Hoildays Tour
Ngambri (Canberra) 23rd September @ sideway // lucas ‘granpa’ abela w/ marlene claudine radice, hymmnn
Dja Dja Wurrung Country (Chewton) 28th September Red Hill Hotel
Corriong (Cowes) 3rd October @ Mod Eisley Cantina + @samhaycroft @longhoursmusic
Naarm (Melbourne)1st October @ Nightlight Bar & Club +
Eora (Sydney) 8th Oct at KXT Vault