Photo © Alexander Popelier
Belgian instrumental five-piece STUFF. defy easy categorisation. Writing for Jazz Standard, Tina Edward said ‘If an energy drink could make music, it would sound like STUFF.‘, a description that does more to describe their sound than established genre tags. Utilising lesser-used instruments like the wind synth, alongside the familiar array of drums and electric bass, synthesizers and turntables, they’re able scatter rhythms, melodies and electronic effects across their canvas with a Pollock-like abandon, creating music that while heavy in groove has great depth and intrigue.
The band recently announced their new album old dreams new planets, a follow up to their self-titled debut, as well as sharing a new track entitled Strata. Discussing the making of the new project, the band explained ‘When making the previous album, we learned a lot about how we want to approach composition and recording, so this project was definitely more efficient. Some of the tracks are the result of free jams we do, some of them are based on ideas we bring to the table.’ Gilles Peterson described the band as ‘somewhere between Flying Lotus and The Comet is Coming’ when playing their new track on his 6Music show, furthering affirming the progressive nature of their music.
The group’s intention was to reverse the recording/touring cycle, developing several compositions on the road prior to laying them down in the studio, when they were fully realised and second nature to them. They’re one of the most committed groups you’re likely to encounter; having done ‘150 shows in the last 18 months’ and adapted a lot of their new music along the way.
Discussing the beautiful artwork for their new album, created by Paris-born artist Yto Barrada, the guys explain, ‘for the first album we worked with a piece from an artist and for this one we wanted to do the same. One of us saw her work in a museum and sent it to the rest of the band. Everybody felt that it was the right work for this record: colourful, trying to get an insight of how the world works, the layers in what we see and what we do. It was very inspiring and a perfect reflection of our combined looks on music, art and life.’
STUFF.’s show at Band on the Wall last year stood out as one of the most electrifying we have recently witnessed, and discussing how the show evolves, they explained ‘we like to keep the approach as free as possible, so there will be some tracks based on compositions on the new record, and even newer things too!’.