HOW CLOSE CAN YOU GET TO THE MOMENT?
Autopilot is an improvisational outfit bent on exploring the world of experimental sound construction in and beyond Birmingham, AL. Via a common love for music and art, the ensemble was formed by Eamon Griffith, Rumi Kallenbach, and Aussie Smith, and includes guest performers and consistent collaborators.
Autopilot (2019) was the premiere release for the Earth Hotel’s record label, N-Lobby Sounds, and the fifth collection from the group. Featuring contributions by Alex Santana and William Wallace, the full-length album was distributed through download codes stamped onto colorful, “art d’hotel” paintbrushes, reflecting the members’ visual talents and tendencies that permeate their music.
[Those brushes, a limited run of 50, may be purchased through our SHOP,
or by clicking the “buy” link in the player to your left.]
Each being talented and flexible multi-instrumentalists, they would condense into a prolific creative unit throughout 2017,
producing hours of complex musical experiments and intuitive compositions.
In an impressive display of ingenuity and creative energy, the trio set about recording all they could with what they had, usually smart phones and odd processing gear. The digital crop bore them a method by which they could entertain their ideas about what to do with music as a sound-information experience, which they performed throughout the city with a myriad of talented compatriots.
2018 saw three collections (LOCALE, Images, Tangents of Elements), and a live album, autopilot At the Nick.
An April Fool’s release called Stupid.mp3 held 58 tracks, and saw the group through the Spring of 2019.
At this time, the laptop and instrumental skills of William Wallace came into the fold bringing the main lineup to 4,
with guest musicians Alex Santana, Veni Vici, and others recording and playing live alongside.
In the early summer of 2019, as material for their first LP coalesced toward completion, they were approached by N-Lobby Sounds to be the flagship artists of the label with their release.
This would stand as a step in a brave new direction, being accompanied by a full-length video project, with videos directed by each member and edited as a collaborative process.
Composed and re-designed pieces like “Pulsars,” “Aqueducts,” and “Terra Shadows” have become essential to live performances, in which members gleefully swap instruments as called for, handing off bass guitars and crawling behind each other to get to synthesizers or other machines.
When asked about the intent or stated purpose of their music, they said that they attempt to get as close to spontaneous creation as they can, in the moment, while following and listening to each other. The compositions, once intuited and captured, are refined and carefully processed, often being closely edited field recordings and incidental creativity.
Such a thing may sound chaotic and unmanageable, but the cobbler’s elves within the Autopilot mechanism manage to lend craftsmanship and nuance to the associative melodies and unconventional sound textures.
These are not bashful sound mechanics, combining odd elements in a computer — despite the name, these creative seekers are very much in control — pulling levers, checking data, scanning and piloting a sonic craft to guide listeners from one moment to the next. But their station is no leisure tour. This is a fast vessel, and often seatbelts and protective gear is required. Their destination is the event horizon: the twilight zone between thought and expression which requires a certain kind of radar. This craft is guided by impulse.