SpermChurch is an international, poly-electro, pan-genre duo made up of Trevor Dunn (electric bass) and Sannety (electronics). Trevor is known for the over 150 recordings he can be heard on, including many by John Zorn, Tomahawk, the Melvins, Nels Cline, Kris Davis and the complete works of Mr. Bungle and Fantômas. Sannety is unknown to many people.
SpermChurch hovers within elements of grindcore and trap, battling cultural conditioning with non-traditional tunings, glissandos, percussion, a max/msp patch. Using minimal elements to play with (a lot of bass drums and bass mostly), we turn patterns inside out.
SpermChurch is interested in exploring the possibilities of rule-based improvisation in order to bypass the decision making process that is founded more on ‘culture or language’— elements that often compromise improvisation by creating boundaries of preconceived ideas in regards to form and ways of interaction. As we are both experienced improvisers we were confronted with certain habits and cliches that we and other around us fall prey to, making us think about ways to free ourselves from those unconscious limitations by imposing conscious limitations of another kind. We are interested in generating material and creating forward motion by applying a combination of algorithms, constraints and probability by ways of designated ”meeting points” in the compositions that can act as a trigger for the next series of events. Of course, we also rely on the direct intuitive input of the two musicians while at the same time setting a new challenge of improvising with limited material. By using Max/MSP in the decision making aspect of the pieces to execute algorithms and influence the audio processing it can become an integral partner in the playing field. Musical parameters such as volume, density of notes, velocity, duration, speed, and texture of the sound are the focal points in developing algorithms or setting up restraints. Some examples are: Morphing rhythmic patterns, creatively playing with speed changes, having certain sounds appear in designated order or proportions, deconstructing rhythmical structures, playing with fixed rhythms but focussing on textural development, phasing in and out of (a general) rhythm, exploring textural counterpoint; offering loads of possibilities for distilling a common musical language and building an improvisational dialogue.