Drumm er Tim Doyle can often be caught scattering rhythms for such London operatives as Maisha and Cykada but, as our own Nick Hasted discovered, it’s with his Chiminyo solo project, with its software patches and sequencer patterns, that Doyle really gets to express himself
: Edan to
Tim Doyle is building a private musical universe around his drums. Under the name Chiminyo, he is a one-man band of a new, cyborg kind. Contact mics attached to his drums and cymbals mean each hit sends signals to his laptop, which are sequenced by software patches; every hit of his kickdrum, for instance, might move to the next note in a bassline sequence. As new tunes and phrases are added a musical network is growing around Doyle’s kit, where he has rhythmic liberty in deploying his panoply of sounds. Debut single I Am Chiminyo demonstrates the glistening techno textures and warped sitar riffs which can result. Those who saw Chiminyo’s late-
night Love Supreme set – during a festival when Doyle also played percussion with Maisha and drums with Cykada’s polyglot London sounds – experienced this complex creation’s euphoric results.
“If I’m vibing with a crowd, like I was at Love Supreme,” Doyle tells me on the phone before a Maisha gig in Italy, “I’ve got a filter which takes all the high-end out, so it sounds underwater and quiet. So I can play really crazy, then take the filter out and come in harder, completely on the fly. It makes for a more vibrant experience with the audience.”
Doyle’s experiments began when he noticed a mysterious input on a vintage Prophet-6 synth, plugged a drum trigger in, and stumbled on a world of possibility. Three months’ recuperation from a kidney operation let him dig further. “I was at my parents’ house, on heavy opiates,” he recalls. “I used that time to learn piano, and build my own software patches. And now I’m putting all my spare time into developing my ideas. It’s a crazy, outrageous amount of work. But I’ve started down the rabbit-hole. I can’t turn around now. And not many people get to go on stage by themselves and say, this is me.”
Using debilitating illness to study piano and coding skills typifies Doyle’s all-out approach to life. “My friends comment on my work ethic,” he concedes. “On my year out, I played with three orchestras. And when I decided to explore percussion, I bought congas, and played in nightclubs with a DJ when I was 18. They used to call me Bongo Tim! Once I’ve got a concept, I see it through.”
Doyle sounds not so much a generalist as a universalist – grabbing everything in his reach. “Yeah, man, you should go to my house!” he laughs. “I’ve got a studio in my garden that we built in a shed. Now I’ve got
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Outstanding pianist-composer and committed ecowarrior, Cuban-born Fabian Almazan, spoke to Selwyn Harris about how his passion for environmental issues and a recent homeland reconnection have impacted upon his latest trio album, This Land Abounds With Life
Certain jazz artists like to champion what they see as an important cause through their music. For the 35-year-old Cubanborn, Harlem-based pianist-composer Fabian Almazan, it’s the environment. But he goes much further than most, so that it has affected all aspects of his music-making, production and marketing processes. A couple of years ago he formed his own green-conscious recording label, Biophilia.
“I’ve always cared deeply about the environment and climate change and the term ‘biophilia’ is a theory that I became aware of through E.O. Wilson,” he says on a Skype call from his home in Harlem, citing the author of an influential book first published in 1984. “It basically states that human beings are innately attracted to and positively impacted by being around other living things. Which explains why, here in New York for example, people will pay insane amounts of money to live in an apartment right next to Central Park. We’re hardwired to be attracted to nature. Around 12, 13 years ago I had this attraction and that just became a lot clearer in my mind once I learned about biophilia. At the time I was just beginning some sort of organisation to bring musicians together that care about the environment and that idea turned into the label.”
The evidence is in the label’s digital-only format yet physical FSC-certified packaging and the artists’ commitment to contributing to environmental organisations. Almazan’s new
18 Jazzwise September 2019