April 12, 2024

Paul Kendall releases ‘Boundary Macro’ after lockdown induced creative paralysis – an interview


Boundary Macro is the fifth solo album from producer, engineer and electronic musician Paul Kendall, released July 29th on clear vinyl, including digital downloads.

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(By our Norwegian correspondent Jan Ronald Stange/press release penned by Mat Smith) Boundary Macro is the fifth solo album from producer, engineer and electronic musician Paul Kendall, released July 29th on clear vinyl, including digital downloads.

Beginning with his tenure in anarchic London post-punk unit Dry Rib and on through his respected studio work with Recoil, Wire, Barry Adamson, Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode, Nitzer Ebb and many others, Kendall has always maintained an acute focus on the intricate properties of sound. Each of his solo albums has showcased an approach to complex sound design as well as the darker, emotive side of sonic processing.

The impetus for Boundary Macro came through a remix completed for Downwards, the label run by Karl O’Connor (aka Regis). O’Connor was familiar with Kendall’s tenure as an in-house producer, engineer and mixer for Mute Records in the 1980s and 1990s, and sought him out for the remix of Veronica Vasicka’s ‘From Here’ in 2018. “He liked the remix I did for him and I remember him saying to send him some of my stuff if I so wished,” recalls Kendall. “I sent him the ten tracks that make up Boundary Macro. He came flying back to me having fallen in love with a couple of pieces and offered to put the album out on Downwards. It really was a seductive enthusiasm and I readily agreed.”

The concept for Boundary Macro unifies an approach that Kendall takes to both images and sound. “I absolutely love macro photography,” he explains. “Macro photography is where you magnify the minutiae of an object. It’s a similar method that I’ve used a lot in sound design, where I take found sounds then exploit and zoom in on them.”

If ‘macro’ is the descriptor for Kendall’s process, then ‘boundary’ is about revealing another personal side of himself – his hearing difficulties, a condition caused by too many loud studio sessions. “A boundary can be thought of as being like binary, with its two states – on and off. With this album, the boundary in question is the one between my ability to hear and not hear. Because of that deafness, I sometimes have to rely on graphical representations of sound to ensure there’s not something happening sound-wise which I am unable to hear. It’s also about the supposed boundary between sound and noise, which, for me, does not exist. It’s also the idea of the boundary as a limit – but a limit to go beyond, not one that stops you. Suffering with loss of hearing could have easily acted as a limit for me. Boundary Macro is the sound of me going beyond that limit.”

We also had a short Q&A with Paul via e-mail.

Side-Line: New album – what led up this?  

Paul Kendall - Boundary Macro

Paul Kendall: I experienced a sort of creative paralysis from the start of March until the end of April due to early lockdown and an endless concern about food supplies. Around May 2020 I started to experiment sound processing apps on my iPad – apps like Borderlands Granular, Tardigrain and Enso. I was astonished at the relative affordability of these apps in comparison to studio multi-effects units or computer plug-ins.

Side-Line: What was your recording process?

PK: I began experimenting with recordings of my own voice and the Leaf Audio Soundbox instrument, capturing hours of improvised performances which were then microscopically edited, superimposed and processed to form eight of the tracks on the album. The album was completed by the addition of two  older pieces created using completely different methods (‘Distor ADIO’ and ‘Are You In?’), but were entirely kept in style with my recent experiments.

Side-Line: Tell us about the artwork and the decision for a clear vinyl.

PK: The original sleeve design was one of mine, riffing on the boundary idea, every line was a boundary. The clear vinyl was probably someone at Downwards.

Side-Line: Other plans or any events/performances planned?

PK: On this island the concept of overseas travel has been dealt a blow by Brexit and Covid. But who knows? When the geo-political world cools down I may happily grab a suitcase.

Get the album at Boomkat.

author avatar
Sometimes - when I'm not cooking, biking, listening to music or attending concerts, I write stuff for Side-Line.com. Mostly about Norwegian bands, but it's been some Swedish, English, American, Danish, German and others too... ;)

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