Inspired by the shapes and sounds of Kingston upon Hull, Numb Mob’s ‘Where To Build In Stone’ weaves a variety of electronics, acoustic instruments and field recordings into a haunting yet vivid soundscape. Originally performed live as an audio-visual piece at the PRS New Music Biennial 2019, subsequently broadcast on BBC Radio 3, the album is an expanded studio recording that evokes a mysterious and oddly beautiful side of the city. The total running time clocks in at 24 minutes, a minute for each hour of the day.
Numb Mob is Liam van Ryn and Joseph Bird. Since forming, they have become an adventurous alternative outfit with avant-garde sensibilities. Taking on board influences like John Carpenter, Simon Fisher Turner, James Holden and Boards of Canada, they’ve arrived at a visually charged sound that is both familiar and alien. On ‘Where To Build In Stone’, the duo are joined by James? Rushworth, Anthony Boorer and ?Pete? Minns who play a combination of synths, saxophone, trombone and percussion.
The visual counterpart to ‘Where To Build In Stone’ was created by Bird and explores Hull over the course of a day, focusing on the quiet drama in the scenes that are everywhere and overlooked: the familiar seen from an unfamiliar perspective. Field recordings and audio from the footage directly inspired the direction of the music, which was created simultaneously alongside the film allowing both elements to influence each other.
“With ‘Where To Build In Stone’, we wanted to create an immersive piece of work that, through sound and images, represents an alternative experience of a city from the perspective of a pedestrian. We’re interested in experimenting with organic and synthetic sounds and we drew from the Hull’s sonic and visual backdrop to compose the soundtrack. Not wanting to make a tourist board film, I deliberately avoided the ‘sights’ of Hull and instead focused on the things in the background that aren’t the main event and make ordinary imagery seem extraordinary.” – Joseph Bird, Numb Mob
‘Where To Build In Stone’ will be released on 22nd November on vinyl LP and digital formats, with the full film premiering online the same week. Numb Mob play live at Hull Truck Studio on 16th November and Southbank centre (Clore Ballroom) on 17th November.