George Cory Todd is a musician and sound artist based in Berkeley, California, releasing his debut Icon on February 26th, 2019 via Atlantic Rhythms. His journey into ambient composition was deliberate but long-awaited. Trained as a bassist at Oberlin College’s music conservatory, Todd spent a tenure in New York, touring with bands like Man Forever and Katie Von Schleicher, running sound at Brooklyn venue Baby’s All Right, pulling late hours in pursuit of a career he thought he wanted.
He found himself coming home late at night to write and record music that didn’t fit into his plan, creating ambient work into the early hours of the morning, a practice developed out of curiosity and emotional necessity. “Often these experiences were deeply immersive and enriching,” says Todd, “but tinged with exhaustion, dissociation, and bouts of intense depression and anxiety. A lot of sounds on this record reflect that - a sort of manic, hasty first impression, but with complex undertones.”
What began privately, obsessively, began to command his attention. As compositional ideas developed, he started walking to and from work, spending hours engaged in listening and conceptualizing. As a result, Icon, like its creator, ekes out a space for emotion, creativity and privacy, introspection not found easily in a loud world. Todd was on an exciting yet private sonic path, but felt increasingly alienated from the dense music scene in New York and his sense of identity in it. In that state, an album began to take shape. After completing “A Lathe Within,” “Reynardine,” and “Miel, Actually” Todd realized he’d begun to form something full, a complex musical language. It’s ambient work, tinged and interrupted by dense texture, a bridge between the mental and the physical world, between states of thinking and being.
“Often I feel that this record sounds depressed in a sense...clouded by a series of intense, spiritual emotions, yet also detached from them,” says Todd. “Most of these tracks are an attempt to reflect those feelings into sound.” On the final, titular track “Icon,” sounds vie for the listener’s attention from deep in the background, almost making it to the fore: a frantic drum beat, someone talking. Everything glitches, then stops.