Lockdown 2020. Covid19. Noise.

There’s no way to prepare for novelty. The pandemic changed my perception in a profound way – a paradigm shift. The world felt suddenly further away and closer at the same time. News showed countries across the globe sharing our same experiences; we were united in the same fight. And yet we had to stay away from each other in order to be of most use. That’s a mindbender.

SuperSPREADER knew that we were going to need an escape from the tedium of isolation, from the mundanity, from the disconnection. It knew that time was going to stretch and warp and that we would need new reference points to anchor ourselves to any sense of normality. It knew that building something would help us cope.

But we had time on our hands, lots of it (if we weren’t medical heroes or frontline saints or shackled to dishonest managers), and so the mind gets to working. And if music is how you connect with others best, and you can’t connect in person, could you connect in another way?

SuperSPREADER proposed laying down a length of groove – an expansive meditation for losing yourself and finding yourself – and advised me to put it out for fattening in the digital pastures. It called out, inviting distant souls to connect with it. It wanted to be spread amongst us, to swim within us, to affect each new host and be born again, a new strain. It was animated and eager for new leases of life.

And so SuperSPREADER waited…

Connection: Lost

Tom Richardson. Musician. Plymouth, UK.

During the Covid-19 lockdown of early 2020 I was feeling disconnected. As a way to reach out I created a musical message in a bottle; a 20+ minute fuzz-guitar psych-rock invitation to jam with me in a virtual space. Lockdown itself shared obvious parallels with this chosen psych-rock genre – the shifting perception of time, the scope to feel unanchored and drifting, the way the familiar would take on new meanings; the two were a perfect combination.

Vaguely composed into three sections, this jam was recorded in a single take on the 30th of May 2020 in my impromptu home studio.

Fender Strat Plus > Catalinbread Karma Suture GE > Catalinbread SFT > DIY Tremolo > EHX POG > EHX Holy Grail > Zoom H1 Recorder > Logic Pro X

I invited anyone with an interest to be involved to listen and respond to my recording, add parts and layers, jam along with it, sing, create beats – whatever embellishment or augmentation they desired. The foundation track was the landscape; a common source to be tapped into myriad ways. Contributors would only given access to my guitar track for their own inspiration in the hope that each would create a unique, personal and direct response to it. My job, as mixer-slash-composer, would be to weave these submissions together.

I had no idea what to expect, but the responses started to come.

And they lit up my lockdown.

“Come on people now/Smile on your brother/Everybody get together/Try to love one another right now”

The Players

The following is a list of the musicians (in order of appearance) who contributed their time and talent to this project. Many of their submissions were recorded at home with very DIY equipment (more than one submission using just their phone). They are all equally brilliant. 

 

Cathy McCabe – Violin

Tim Cresswell – Keys

Chris Bailey – Kitchenalia

Tom Richardson – Guitar, Synth Mellotron, Field Recordings

Melaine Le Bars – Coughs

Pete F Davies – Lyrics, Vox (and collage cover artist)

Tim Langsford – Drums

Patrick James Pearson – Bass, Drums

Shane McKenna – Guitar, Slide Guitar, Banjo, Clarinet, Vox, Trumpet, Strings

Peter Miles – Drums, Bass

Arun Sood – Guitar

Shayne House – Synth

Ian Munro – Synth Bass, Synth Pads, Beats

Cameron Black – Drums

 

Mixed by Tom Richardson at home during Lockdown 1, 2020

Mastered by James Bragg Recording, 2020

Video

Katy Richardson’s companion moving image work for SuperSPREADER (2020).

The video work made to accompany SuperSPREADER uses found footage to reflect upon the context in which the music was made, and the anthropocentric factors and systems which contributed to the pandemic.

Katy Richardson is a visual artist based in Plymouth, UK.