act 236 · talbot & deru · genus · special edition cd

1. transmutation 1
2. transmutation 2
3. transmutation 3
4. transmutation 4
5. genus 1
6. genus 2
7. the great tree of life 1
8. the great tree of life 2
9. bardenas sun and moon [video]
10. collection [video]

download the promo-sheet as pdf

act236 talbot & deru: genus. gallery @ flickr

composed and produced by joby talbot & benjamin wynn
engineered by mark wyllie assisted by mike horner
mastered by mike wells at mike wells mastering, san francisco
video concept & direction: ravi deepres
commissioned by the paris opera ballet with choreography by wayne mcgregor
premiered at the palais garnier on october 28th 2007
upc 821272205821

limited edition of 100 copies
special packaging: hardcover book-sleeve with linencovering & embossing + 20 page booklet
enhanced cd incl. 2 videos and pdf document.

released in collaboration with dear oh dear records

genus is an electro-acoustic score for wayne mcgregor's ballet of the same title, based on charles darwin's discovery of evolution. the musical composition in eight parts is a collaborational work between joby talbot and deru. talbot has a high profile as a film and tv composer. screen credits include cult television comedy series 'the league of gentlemen' and 'the hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy'. deru is benjamin wynn, an electronic music producer from los angeles. his music is best described as an amalgamation of hip-hop, electronica and idm. genus embodies a synergy and culmination of various musical influences. minimal music and 20th century compositional textures performed by a ten part choir and four string instruments establish a perfect symbiosis with deru's complex electronic patterns. indescribably beautiful and haunting, the music is delivered with intensity and artistry and can be enjoyed as a self-contained work, even if there is no opportunity to view the ballet. this cd edition including two video clips and an additional pdf document is limited to 100 copies and will be released in an outstanding hardcover book-sleeve packaging with embossed linencovering and 20page booklet.

joby talbot is a british composer. talbot studied composition at royal holloway and bedford new college under the guildhall school of music and drama under brian elias & simon bainbridge. following the success of his first major orchestral work 'luminescence', premiered by the bbc philharmonic, he has gone on to receive numerous commissions from organisations such as the bbc symphony orchestra, london sinfonietta and the bbc proms. unrestricted by genre, talbot has a high profile as a film and tv composer. screen credits include cult television comedy series 'the league of gentlemen', two silent films for the british film institute (hitchcock's 'the lodger' and evgeny bauer's 'the dying swan ') and 'the hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy'. talbot was part of the creative team that produced the ballet 'chroma' for the royal ballet. the piece was choreographed by wayne mcgregor and performed to talbots orchestral arrangements of music by the white stripes. he also wrote additional music for the ballet, as well as writing new arrangements for the royal opera house orchestra. the ballet would later win the 2007 laurence olivier award for best new dance production. subsequently, paris opera ballet has commissioned an electronic score from talbot for wayne mcgregor's newest work 'genus' for october 2007.

deru is benjamin wynn, an electronic musician from los angeles. his compositions find hip-hop and electronic music linking hands, while dipping more than a toe in the ambient and classical pools. previous releases on ghostly international, merck, mush, neo ouija, and delikatessen records and more have allowed him to cultivate a dedicated following. an accomplished sound designer and film-scorer with his company, the track team, he has been nominated for the mpse's golden reel award. deru's appreciation of art and architecture runs as deep as the basslines that support his thoughtfully constructed songs. with one eye on music technology innovations, one ear tuned to the strains of his musical forefathers and every remaining molecule dedicated to producing synthetic symphonies, deru is a creative force to be reckoned with.

we met three years ago, heard each other's music, & instantly decided to work together. the opportunity presented itself in the summer of 2007 when acclaimed choreographer wayne mcgregor asked us to create an electro-acoustic score for genus - his new work for the paris opera ballet based on darwin's discovery of evolution.

taking darwin's own words and a three part dramatic structure as our starting points, we decided to record a limited palate of acoustic components: a ten part choir made up of members of 'tenebrae' conducted by nigel short; and four string instruments - the duke quartet with louisa fuller as solo violinist.

we wanted to create a musical evolution of our own. disembodied voices emerge from the 'primordial soup' of a static field and gradually words start to form. the text for this movement is taken from the page of darwin's secret 'b' notebook on transmutation in which is recorded the exact moment when the idea of evolution was born. a simple annotated diagram has the words "i think..." added at the top of the page as if darwin suddenly realises the momentous significance of his discovery. it was to be another 22 years before he would publish his findings.

the music builds and coalesces with the introduction of rhythmic elements before reaching a crisis point where it fractures and collapses into the ambient sounds of the storm that raged outside the church where we were recording. there was just time to capture a magical performance by louisa fuller and the duke quartet before flood waters cascaded through the building's interior.

the final movement which merges the choir and quartet, and sets the passage from the origin of species where darwin finally revealed to the world his supreme achievement - the discovery of the mechanism by which life has covered the surface of the earth "with its ever-branching and beautiful ramifications".

joby talbot 4th september 2008

joby talbot discography (excerpt):
the dying swan, music for 1 to 7 players. 2002
the league of gentlemen's apocalypse (original sound track). 2005
the hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy (original sound track). 2005
v.a.. once around the sun. 2005
the path of miracles (commission from vocal group tenebrae). 2006

deru discography:
pushing air. cd / lp. neo ouija. 2003
pushing soil. 10". delikatessen records. 2004
trying to remember. cd / 12". merck. 2004
say goodbye to useless. cd / lp. mush records. 2009

joby talbot official website:

deru website:

for information about the ballet please visit:


enochian apocalypse
to anyone not born on planet earth joby talbot is the british composer who did the soundtrack for the 2005 version of 'the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy', the league of gentleman's apocalypse' and has had many of his works premiered by the bbc philharmonic and amongst many a ballet, television and other outstanding credits to his swelling curriculum vitae. lesser known, but not to be outdone is benjamin wynn who goes under the guise of 'deru' who hails from los angeles treading waters in electronic and hip-hop circles amongst others. genus is a score for wayne mcgregor's ballet of the same name; an electro/acoustic jaunt based on darwin's theory of evolution. as imagined this is a highly dramatised piece of work piecing together a ten part choir with string instruments that build slowly cut and pasted alongside sub electronic bass and glitch trips and turns that unsurprisingly evolve as the subject matter demands; for the large part this approaches from the ambient angle, letting in heartbeat patterns that move and swell with haunting vocals that carry the listener on a voyage of discovery. i am a sucker for violin; and was in awe for the most of this experience when these appeared from nowhere; yes ladies and gentlemen this is a extremely mature piece of work and not some lame attempt at artistic one-uppery on musical circles, this is the real deal; people who can actually play real instruments. genus has been broken down into three acts; 'transmutation', 'genus' and 'the great tree of life'; as you would expect with this being the soundtrack to a full working ballet, its grandiose, majestic and tells a story in its own right. it's a damn shame that this does not have the full visual performance to accompany this release, however on the boxed and enhanced edition there are two video clips to feast your eyes upon, although you just want that little bit more even though the video's are of the highest quality and there is a certain magic in making someone hunger for that little bit extra. for me though i am more than happy just to sit back with the lights out and let this outstanding musical accomplishment take me along its many pathways of beauty and growth; glorious in every sense of the word. (tony young)

a review in russian language can be found on the machinist's website:

vital weekly 698
the idea of experiencing a ballet has never occurred to me, i must admit, but present album released on german label ant-zen recordings certainly inspires to do so. the album is a collaboration between two composers: joby talbot is a british composer known for his sound works for television comedy series such as "the league of gentlemen" and "hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy". the other composer is the l.a.-based electronic musician benjamin wynn who often integrates styles spanning from classical to hip hop. the title of the album "genus" is also the title of a ballet based on charles darwin's evolution theory directed by wayne mcgregor. present album being a collaboration between two interesting contemporary yet quite differently approached composers, is the soundtrack to this ballet. where most ballets use a classically based soundtrack, the soundtrack to this piece belongs to some of the most interesting electronic works heard for a while. the album's integration of ethereal choir in crossover with more modern based sound spheres does remind me of jazz-composer jan garbarek's collaboration with the hilliard ensemble as on "officium", but where garbarek remains in the acoustic sound spheres, the two composers behind "genus" operates in forefront electronic textures integrating elements from first of all the idm and ambient-scene in the electroacoustic expressions. very interesting album that definitely adds something interesting to the ballet scene.(nm)

connexion bizzare
philip glass and steve reich aren't composers i ever expected to be brought to mind by an ant-zen release, but this is just what happened on hearing "genus", a joint release between ant-zen and dear oh dear records, the label of british composer john (joby) talbot, working here with american electronica artist deru (benjamin wynn). their collaboration is the soundtrack to a dance work based on darwin's discovery of evolution. "genus" is immaculately produced and recorded and is often seductive, but can also be almost painfully tasteful. "transmutation (pt.1)" opens the album with reich-like choral voices gradually emerging and developing. here there's an interesting tension between austerity and more expressive textures heard later in the album. for listeners used to harsher and darker textures "genus" may be most valuable as a sensory refresh or cleansing before diving back into harsher works. alongside the voices and strings are the electronic elements, which are sometimes just a barely perceptible 'sheen' hanging over the music, but at other times are more tangible. when they do come through they sound like a continuation of the old "clicks and cuts" style associated with the much-missed german label mille plateaux. another inescapable association here is murcof, probably the most respected combiner of contemporary classical sounds and electronica. murcof's work has made such an impression that it it's now hard not to sound like it when combining electronics and contemporary classical. yet despite the formal similarities, "genus" is generally much brighter and more affirmative in tone than murcof. the two parts of the title track move away from the electronica textures, bringing to mind estonian composer arvo pärt. the strings on part 1 are both melancholy and idyllic, and this is the most affecting piece here. "the great tree of life" conjures images of a horribly over-earnest choir at some mid-west college, but it just about keeps the earnestness in check, occasionally offsetting it with slightly darker textures. this mode continues into part 2, which fades into silence and a startling short sequence of harsh digital clicks. how well you tolerate the earnestness may depend on your attitude to darwin, who for some has become a sort of secular saint. the renewed media and cultural interest in darwin and genetic research over the last few years coincided with the rise of enron-style market darwinism. in the anglo-american context there's a sinister political 'hidden reverse' to the veneration of darwin which "genus" contributes wholeheartedly to. it displays little of the tension, violence and extinctions associated with evolution, nor does it allude to the darker aspects of darwinist fundamentalism. this beatific, uncritically affirmative take on darwin is most obvious in the two beautifully filmed videos that end the disc, featuring idyllic landscape sequences and highly aestheticised footage of scientific experiments. darwin worshippers will find their ideal work of art here, but those who without such unquestioning faith may sometimes find it a queasier and even vaguely sinister proposition. (alexei monroe)

mention spéciale également pour genus [ant-zen], le premier disque issu de talbot & deru la collaboration entre joby talbot et benjamin wynn alias deru. l'un est anglais et compositeur pour la tv et le cinéma, l'autre est américain et producteur de musique électronique. et l'on ne pouvait rêver meilleure association de bienfaiteurs pour enregistrer pareille œuvre. découpée en trois grands actes et huit titres, elle leur a été commandée en 2007 par le chorégraphe wayne mcgregor afin d'accompagner sa nouvelle création pour l'opéra bastille de paris, inspirée par la théorie de l'évolution de darwin. mêlant arrangements classiques saupoudrés de boucles électroniques de pointe, l'ensemble dépasse largement le cadre initial du ballet. il se pourrait même que cet album ait donné l'idée à ben lukas boysen (hecq) d'enregistrer la bande son du film "fear/love" en compagnie du compositeur et violoncelliste lucio amanti. (betrand hamonou)

chain d.l.k.
this breathtaking electro-acoustic record, coming from a prolific collaboration between the talented british composer joby talbot ' member of the creative team that produced the ballet 'chroma' for the royal ballet, whose curriculum twinkles for a plenty of awarded works, such as his first major orchestral opera 'luminescence', premiered by the bbc philarmonic, boasting an enviable profile as a film and tv composer as well ' and the quick wit by benjamin wynn aka deru - an electronic musician and sound designer from los angeles, counting many releases labeled by delikatessen records, neo ouija, ghostly international, mush, merck, whose passion for art and architecture seems to live in concord with his high interest in music technology innovations and his talent in carving marvelous synthetic symphonies -, was intended to act as the score for wayne mcgregor's ballet genus, based on charles darwin's theories and discoveries of evolution, being a really topical matter aroused by media due to the increasing interest in genetic research. i'll skip the subject of darwinism ' you'll find a huge amount of stuff about this matter -, but it's impossible to pass over the impressive charm of the evoked atmosphere in this release as well as its narrative homogeneity, doing its part side by side the documentary inflection of this opus (there are some excerpts taken from darwin's notes, among which the scientist's ones describing the exact moment of the discovery of evolution, hieratically beginning with the words 'i think..' forestalling his famous diagram as well as many other quotations), so as the whole atmosphere of genus seems a musical adaptation of the evolutionary graph, translated into a fable-like musical language. the first four tracks, grouped into just one title, transmutation, sound more austere and tenser: the initial crackling fading into slightly delayed modulated voices which seem coming from distant places, before they begin flowing around the sound sphere and finally amalgamating into undulating choirs, is going to carry your imagination to the very first evolutionary phases and smelling the scent of that primordial soup darwin speaks about. the somewhat-liturgical atmosphere, maybe influenced by the location where it was recorded i the end of july 2007 ' st-michael's church at highgate in london - is partially broken by the mechanical sound-clicks by deru dropped into the gloomy smoky soup in the second track, partially reminding to my mind that kind of sound sculptures ryuichi sakamoto and alva noto usually mould together. the transmutations follow an ascending whirl-like movement with many dramatic and sometimes obscure moments (that's maybe cause their project has sometimes been compared to the one by the esteemed mexican composer murcof': even if talbot & deru's sound is not so dim) till the erupting togetherness of all sounding elements reach a critical point. after that moment, according to the words by joby talbot, the music 'fractures and collapses into the ambient sounds of the storm that raged outside the church where we recording', a magical moment you could breathe in the second (and more idylliac) part of genus, featuring a touching performance as solo violinist by louisa fuller and the choral one by the duke quartet ' it seems that at the end of the recording of the suite genus, flood waters begun cascading through the building's interiors! -. the final movement, the great tree of life, shows the perfect amalgamation between classical music elements and the buzz of minimal electronics and it definitively depicts in a lovingly magnificent way the final revelation of the english naturalist, i.e. the discovery of the mechanism by which life has covered the surface of the earth 'with its ever-branching and beautiful ramifications'. available in a deluxe edition (strictly limited to 100 copies) with hardcover sleeve and a 20-page booklet, genus contains also two intriguing video-clips and a sort of documentary on the matter. hauntingly sublime workout! (vito camarretta)

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