The fifth full-length Rubber Band Banjo album, Synthetic Biology, is a soundtrack to a synthetic biology film in outer space. This album travels through sci-fi jazz, avant rock, electronic soundscapes, ambient textures, and nightmare industrial collages. Synthetic Biology purposely juxtaposes natural sounds that travel through the air with more artificial sounds that are captured with contact mics that travel as vibrations through objects. Since the scientific field of synthetic biology involves the artificial introduction of DNA into a host organism to program cells for a particular function, this album illustrates the competition between these natural and artificial elements. The following musical instruments are used on this album: Kaossilator, Mandala percussion, 3-stringed zither, Buddha Machine, Kaoss Pad 2, MIDI instruments, sampler, electronic drums, and natural recordings. The artwork includes colorful stills from this imaginary synthetic biology film. Synthetic Biology will be released worldwide on Fringe Biology Recordings in May 2010.
Some quotes from reviews of this album:
"...sounds like a more spaced out version of Fuck Buttons...the inclusion of the homemade three-stringed synthesizers add to the unique vision and sound of Synthetic Biology."
"Chase Scene Through DNA Wormholes" with its driving rhythm and technological bleeps is more Krautrock in construct."
"The entire concept behind this project is rather complex and pretty crazy, but the composition deserves a special mention for its originality in ambient progressive music!"
-Side Line music magazine
There are 8 tracks on the album for a total time of about 45 minutes.
1. Synthetic Biology
2. Chase Scene Through DNA Wormholes
3. Terraforming Planet DIY Bio
4. Circuit Bender
5. Bugs & Biofuels
6. Self-Assembling Virus Spaceship
7. Dark Matter of the Genome
8. Human Engineered Pathogen
Rubber Band Banjo Bio:
Rubber Band Banjo is a sci-fi soundtrack composer, homemade instrument maker, multi-instrumentalist, and biology geek. Five full-length albums and one EP have been recorded to date: Hybrid Musical Organisms (2002), Gather Your Junk Together (2002), Hypermutator (2005), Repeating Elements EP (2005), The Circlemaker (2007), and Synthetic Biology (2010). Musical styles are all over the map and include electronic, jazz, avant rock, krautrock, IDM, video game music, cut-ups, drums 'n' bass, dub, no-wave, and musical collages. Compositions involve MIDI programming, manipulating electronic sounds, and playing multiple musical instruments. These instruments include homemade 3-stringed and rubber band zithers, synthesizers such as the Kaoss Pad or Moog, percussive instruments and objects amplified with contact mics, the Mandala drum, treated guitar, Buddha Machine, sampler, electronic drums, voice, and natural recordings.
Being a scientist, the musical making process often involves the direct application of scientific and science fiction concepts. For example, the Hypermutator album was inspired by mechanisms of evolutionary change in bacteria with high mutation rates. Certain tracks on the album have waveforms that are non-randomly duplicated, inverted, and involve transpositions of audio from one location to another, similar to DNA sequence mutations. Another example is the Synthetic Biology album that purposely juxtaposes natural sounds that travel through the air with more artificial sounds that are captured with contact mics that travel as vibrations through objects. Since the scientific field of synthetic biology involves the artificial introduction of DNA into a host organism to program cells for a particular function, this album illustrates the competition between these natural and artificial elements.
Rubber Band Banjo's albums have been released on Weirdomusic Recordings and Fringe Biology Recordings. One track was the theme song for an award winning sci-fi podcast (Billibub Baddings) and also made into a ninja video by a Japanese artist. Several tracks have been played on radio stations, podcasts, and Warren Ellis mixtapes. All Rubber Band Banjo releases can be purchased from Fringe Biology Recordings and most can be found on CD Baby, iTunes, eMusic, and other digital distributors.