Canadian artist Mark Templeton utilizes a background in acoustic music and instruments such as the guitar, banjo and accordion to compose electro-acoustic music using said instruments and a variety of effects processes. Since the release of his critically acclaimed Standing on a Hummingbird in 2007, his sound has been called "pastoral," but also "painterly" in an attempt to describe how his instruments are crumbled and reconstructed into new forms; a process further developed and realized on his 2009 release, Inland.
Templeton's works have been commissioned by organizations of contemporary dance, film and audiovisual disciplines. His live performances have at times been accompanied by Edmonton-based experimental filmmaker aAron Munson's visuals. In 2009 this ongoing collaboration resulted in the release of M. Templeton & aA. Munson: Acre Loss on CD and DVD.
Templeton has performed at international festivals and alternative spaces such as MUTEK Festival (Montreal), Unsound Festival (Krakow), Eat This Festival (Utrecht), Galapagos (New York), Latitude 53 (Edmonton) and Suoni Per Il Popolo Festival (Montreal).
Mark Templeton - Standing On a Hummingbird
Anticipate 001 - released February 2007 - CD / digital
Standing on a Hummingbird is Mark Templeton's first solo full-length album, and is a fitting beginning for the Anticipate label. Templeton takes various acoustic instruments, most notably guitar, accordion and banjo, and manages to retain their inherent qualities and familiarity, while obscuring their character through digital manipulation and layers of textured static and field recordings. The result is an achingly beautiful set of musings, running through tonal ambience and warm, sweeping electro-acoustics, moments which are abstract and yet hold very concrete emotional motifs, as suggested by the title; a tension between natural fragility, it's material fleetingness and the potentialities in its forward gaze, that space in between an understanding and acceptance of reality coupled with a yearning for certain impossibilities.
Compositions unravel in linear fashion, straying from flittering granularized shards into clean acoustic progressions with ease, burying and exposing melodies, fraying and outlining edges along the way. Templeton begins each song with delicately strummed chord progressions and improvisations, and then takes them apart, constantly editing and processing until that glimmer shines through, that instant that resonates with him and hints at the song to come, the hope of what the piece can turn into. The final result arrives when the music coincides with the temporal goal, that point when the sound and the hope of what that sound could be, fall into place together.
Templeton himself says it best, "A piece will often be rewritten numerous times until it begins to take shape. It's often an unintentional note that I overlooked or the whir of a mini-disc or background noise that comes to the forefront. All the desirable sound is there. It's just a matter of arranging it in the right order."