In tech, you expand by compressing. Instead of having a separate computer, calendar, telephone, camera, and flashlight, you probably use your smart phone for everything. The same is true in music production now that we live in a time when an an entire album can be (and has been) recorded on a Macbook at an Apple Store.
No one knows that better than electronica producer Mark Pritchard. Pritchard used an intriguing mix of eclectic older gear, as well as state-of-the-art technology to create his new album, Under the Sun. However, he’s just as adept at making beats using the same basic technology available to virtually all of us: an iPad.
Digital Trends sat down with Pritchard at the Red Bull Studios in New York City to talk about his new album and his immersive audio/visual installation at the Red Bull Music Academy Festival. Afterword, the 45-year-old producer, who has released 14 projects in the course of 24 years, jazzed up the room by making a few beats using the free iOS app Beatwave.
Producers like Pritchard, who guide listening experiences through instrumentation alone, understand telling a story through sound. For Under the Sun, Pritchard collaborated with Australian visual artist Jonathan Zawada to create videos for each track which were initially planned to simply be .gif videos to be shared on social media. After seeing Zawada’s video for the track Sad Alron, Pritchard says he decided “we need to get [Zawada] more money so you can render out more videos.” That’s because Zawada’s advanced digital creations are so resource-intensive it would take two weeks for him to render one minute of video with two computers running.
That’s when Red Bull got involved. With the company’s help, Zawada was able to send the content to a render farm comprised of hundreds of computers to process the videos. The end result is an expansive seven-screen experience that encircles viewers in images of mountains transmogrifying into pulsating clay as Pritchard’s spacey production seemingly guides the story.
In the video, we discuss Pritchard’s thoughts on the audiovisual installation and what he thinks about making music with today’s pared-down technology, including a basic iPad app.