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Max Cooper

Unspoken Words

I’ve always struggled with words. Trying to communicate anything meaningful about my internal state, in any way which seems to do it justice, has always been beyond me. But music bypasses language.

When I hear a chord progression, and hopefully when you do to, it can trigger feelings directly without the need for words, and can act as a means of communication with a more direct link to the actual experience of being a person than any technical language.

This is the core of my music, and why I make a lot of it. It is my means of expression, and something I’m compelled to make.

In other album projects, I have linked my personal feelings and expression to abstracted external ideas in order to create music, working to briefs and film. But here I tried to condense my music down to its fundamentals, and just try to express how I felt as directly as possible.

‘Unspoken Words’ is not a departure from previous musical techniques as a result. It is simply my rendering of what I cannot communicate otherwise. One difficulty in trying to explain an internal state with words is the valence of psychological language, each word relating to feeling on some positive or negative scale. But states of mind are far more complex, I’m never totally happy or totally sad; I find that depression can carry great clarity of thought and happiness idiotic error. We are far more complex than our blunt language in the realm of subjectivity.

The brain is the most complex machine we know of in the universe - and we all have one. Trying to rationalise our hypocrisies and ancient animalistic drives, swimming amongst remnants of childhood experiences and years of conflicting institutionalised messaging, under the constant barrage of unachievable human perfection from social media. It’s a challenging place for most of us, I think. ‘Unspoken Words’ was made as my necessary reaction to our shared condition, as a place of solace for me, and hopefully for you too.

Something interesting emerged when I set about converting each feeling and piece of music into video form in collaboration with each visual artist. There were many visual analogies and structures inherent in the music as always (as explained chapter by chapter in subsequent sections), and I briefed each visual artist on these as usual, but making the film revealed an additional underlying narrative in a way the music alone had not done.

The process of writing music under a feeling of confinement and reduced possibilities turned into a story of growth and a drive for self-expression and ultimately a journey from the inanimate to the posthuman. It became a visual story of escaping precisely the situation that yielded the album, and a reflection of a desire to escape the constraints of a mind. It’s a lot less scientific than my usual album narratives, but then, I started the project with the aim of following my intuition and feeling rather than a scientific narrative to see where it would go.

The following sections provide a summary of each piece of music and each visual story, linked together in the order of the Dolby Atmos film. You can hear the Dolby Atmos audio via Atmos enabled streaming platforms and headphones or sound bars, and you can see the film version via the Blu-ray and via theatre screenings (keep a look out on my mailer for info about those).

And as always, massive thank you for listening and watching, and supporting what we’re doing on Mesh.

Max

Be a part of the project and tell us your unspoken words...

Your thoughts will appear in live performances and digital art pieces, anonymously if you prefer.