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Byron Shire
April 20, 2021

Tinkering with spoons

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Spoonbill returns to the fore with his fourth full-length album Tinkerbox. He celebrates with a launch party at Durrumbul Hall on Friday. 

Unlike anything he’s ever done before, this sonic anthology traverses the landscape of cinematic groove electronica like a caravan of space gypsies.

Tell me what you set out to achieve with Tinkerbox. How does this sit with your previous three releases?

Tinkerbox is my first full-length album since Zoomorphic, released in 2009. Over the past six years I’ve been writing a broad spectrum of music, but concentrated on releasing a bunch of EPs that were more bass heavy dance-floor focused. All the while though I was also dabbling with more downbeat cinematic compositions. So the crafting of the Tinkerbox album evolved in an uninhibited and organic manner over the past six years, until earlier this year when I focused solely on this release bringing an array of sonic sketches to fruition. 

What influences did you draw on?

I admire the works of several Ninja Tune artists, such as Cinematic Orchestra, Amon Tobin, and Bonobo. But mostly I think my major influence was relocating my life to the forest northeast of Melbourne. A few years ago, I bought a property that backs onto Kinglake National Park, and designed and built my own home and studio in the bush.

What were the challenges along the way?

Making an album always presents its challenges. In the case of Tinkerbox I was trying to craft an album from a bunch of disparate musical ideas that had spanned many years. So the difficulty was building a musical journey that made sense to the listener and for the individual tracks to relate to each other. This was solved by fastidiously reworking and rewriting the older tunes to match the production and vibe of the newer compositions.

Why do you go for a cinematic approach in your music?

I love music that is evocative and can send you on a journey in your mind. Music can be a great tool for evoking emotion. And music that is cinematic in nature can further aid the listener in delving into an evocative cerebral experience.

What are the challenges facing electronic musicians? I imagine not getting a lot of airplay on mainstream radio is one.

I think the main challenge is standing out from the crowd. As music production gear becomes more accessible there is more and more of an overload of stuff out there. And so the challenge is to stand out amongst a sea of noise. The most important aspect is always to make something unique and special that truly represents how you are feeling. It might take time to be appreciated, but it will… if it’s a well-honed piece of self-expression! 

What should we expect for your album launch?

I will be performing a longer-than-usual set of around two hours. I’ll start off by showcasing the Tinkerbox album, and then bring up the energy to a more party-fuelled jamboree so punters can also get a good boogie in!

Friday at Durrumbul Hall.

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