I’ve been watching lots of Bob Ross lately on Netflix. Aside from his warm charm and love of small animals, I find his technique utterly amazing. That he sculpts these scenes with such speed and precision; surely this is the zenith of human achievement.
But imagine Bob trying his hand with a different tool. What would his sculpture look like? How would he brand a digital pen? A chisel? A microphone?
Chris Cutler once wrote about the intrinsic beauty of struggle in art, and I’m starting to agree: without some level of nativity, social disadvantage or technical challenge you’re left with the boring competence of library music; Pink Floyd once they got all the session guys in; a Bob Ross landscape painting (sorry Bob).
I know with some certainty that David Sheppard is neither a concert percussionist nor film composer, which makes his Snow Palms project all the more interesting. In limiting himself to mainly percussive and electronic instruments he sculpts filmic textures that swim below a rich, shimmering surface dancing with melodic regularity. Rite gives a glimpse of his new album Origin and Echo due next month, which promises to be more electronic in flavour that the first Snow Palms record, Intervals. It’s stunningly beautiful, reminding me of Eno’s ambient work or North Sea Radio Orchestra’s more percussive pieces. Listen below.
N.B. For the record, Bob’s identical paintings bring me endless comfort and I’m sorry I ever knocked them.