“Hi, John. Really enjoying all your videos, especially during the lockdown. Can I send you my new vinyl EP which includes a remix by Morphology? I have played with many of your favourite bands, albeit not always on your favourite albums! Regards, Chris.”
The emailer was one Chris Whitten whose Opala/Impala EP, released under the name Circles and Ellipses, had yet to arrive on streaming services. Instead, I reverted to Hard Wax’s online store for samples — enough for me to decline Whitten’s offer of a freebie. This kind of robust-but-melodic IDM (fka ambient-techno) is right up my alley. I would support the artist by buying a copy.
Now comes the twist. A quick jump from HardWax.com to Wikipedia.org revealed that Whitten played had indeed played drums for some of my favourite artists: The Waterboys’ biggest hit “The Whole of the Moon” but also Julian Cope’s “World Shut Your Mouth”. How on earth did he get to releasing electronic music on Kirk Degiorgio’s A.R.T. label? The answer came via Paul McCartney’s Flowers in the Dirt and Dire Straits’ On Every Street, a pair of albums that return Whitten’s story to the audiophile world’s white line.
Would Whitten be up for expanding on this seemingly unusual transition via the Darko.Audio podcast?
Strap yourselves in with coffee or tea because this is a long one: two hours in which Chris Whitten talks us through his life as a session drummer and how leaning into 1990s ambient techno guided his move toward making electronic music.