Berlin’s Average Negative label is pleased to share the debut record Shadow Mountain: a cross-medium collaborative project between Sydney-based synth pop artist Marco Vella and American visual artist Kyle Jorgensen, which was released on 14th August. Ambitious in scope and unrestricted to any one artistic medium, Shadow Mountain clearly delineates the modus operandi for all future Average Negative releases. Part musical project, part art book, it explores the synergy between Vella’s sounds and Jorgensen’s visuals – a marriage consummated by the ubiquitous resonance of sentimental feeling that pervades the entire body of work. The warped nature of Jorgensen’s lines and landscapes are reinforced in their dream-like sublimity by Vella’s melancholic synth lines.
Shadow Mountain has been a long time in the making. Work began on the project in 2012 as Vella “was trawling the internet for visual inspiration to encourage and inspirit my songwriting.” He adds that “discovering Kyle’s work and re-listening to the songs I was writing, I was convinced of the aesthetic similarities between our art.” For Vella, these similarities weren’t just abstract; they were tangible in the synaesthetic way he perceived his own music: “When I listened to the recordings of Runner and Patterns, I felt subtle connections to the colours purple, black, blue, green. Kyle’s pieces bring a cosmic sense of scenery to the record.”
It’s easy to perceive the cosmic scenery that abounds on a track like ‘Why’, the first single to be taken from the record. It’s hinged around a bassline that evokes the spaciousness and loneliness of Joy Division or New Order. Nuanced lead synth lines diversify the song’s colour pallet, ultimately helping create a wistful and ambient performance. Elsewhere, ‘Patterns’ glides by with Eno’s expansive ambience to create a sound that’s at once humbling, disassociating, and meditative. Jaunty album closer ‘Awake From Noise’ is the record’s return to earth, buoyed by sprightly guitar parts and an overarching sense of optimism which Jorgensen helps mark in the book by displaying a collage of homely and familiar looking visuals. It’s a synergy that’s intuitive to grasp for anyone approaching the work.
If Shadow Mountain offers anything, it’s the possibility that all art can loosen its formal boundaries and provide people with a totally immersive experience. What Jorgensen and Vella have achieved is a vital part of Average Negative’s future template. By “advocating the oneness of art regardless of form”, the label have hit upon a future of possibility for cross-platform releases. Jorgensen and Vella have achieved the ultimate goal of collaboration: to present a body of work that refuses to be separated into its component parts. Average Negative will continue to present work like this, further exploring different mediums including film, photography, design, and physical and online exhibitions. It could be argued that Average Negative are futurists. There’s an equally valid case for saying that they simply want to re-explore the potential of music and how it’s packaged in an age where everything is disposable. Either way, they’re likely to succeed.
Artist: Marco Vella + Kyle Jorgensen
Title: Shadow Mountain
Label: Average Negative
Release Date: August 14th
Format: Digital / Vinyl / ltd Book
4. On Set
7. Awake From The Noise