Hugh Jones is a live electronic performer, producer, teacher, instrument builder and musician. Live as in the studio, he creates sound from machinery, found items, manipulated vocals, saxophone, traditional concertina and his self designed ‘Concertronica’ which he samples and manipulates through his idiosyncratic electronic set up, controlling his sounds with digital game controllers and (another original design) midi motorcycle handlebars. As well as his solo project ‘Crewdson’, Hugh Jones plays live with Matthew Herbert and as one half of ‘Crewdson & Cevanne’. He previously played in the bands Saltwater Samurai and Hello Skinny and has remixed for the likes of Brownswood, Four Tet, Accidental, Sunday Best and Ninja Tune. His debut album ‘Gravity’ came out in 2011 on underground experimental London label Slowfoot Records following on from an initial 12” ‘Dust EP’ a few months earlier where he was hailed as one to watch amongst his ‘post-dubstep’ peers, “…blowing jazz and glitch into the vessels sails”, and both releases drew huge acclaim from the likes of Gilles Peterson, Clash, XLR8R, Time-Out, BBC, Future Sequence and The Fader to name but a few.
A video single and remix EP followed in 2012 but you might otherwise be forgiven for thinking that the newly relocated producer – from South London to the South Downs – has been idly whiling away the years away from music. You would of course be gravely mistaken. In the intervening years Crewdson has produced remixes for the likes of Ninja Tune, Lo Recordings, Sunday Best and Brownswood Records. He has been releasing records as one half of electronic soul duo Eckoclick alongside eclectic pop singer Femme. He has been the right hand man to renowned electronic producer Matthew Herbert both on and off stage since 2009 and also now runs Herbert’s Accidental Records. He has been writing music for fashion shows for prominent designers Paul Smith and Phoebe English, collaborated with London’s National Centre for Circus Arts on a bespoke performance, worked with fashion designer Jodie Cartman to create a range of playable musical headpieces, has been on tour as tech support to Thom Yorke and has contributed sounds to the rescoring of the first ever British sci fi movie ‘A Message From Mars’ as a part of The New Radiophonic Workshop in collaboration with the BBC and the BFI. He has also been building a myriad of weird and wonderful hardware electronic musical instruments such as The Odd Box, The Concertronica, The Eggiophone and The Sonic Bonnet…
Crewdson’s second album ‘TOYS’ owes much to these instruments, which have increasingly become central to his production methods and sound and which also provide the albums title and imagery. They also provide a clue as to his music’s direction. Where the music on ‘Gravity’ blended jazz inflected harmony and concrete soul with his trademark skewed electronics and tumbling beats, ‘Toys’ is more informed by the harmonic, lyrical and sonic ideas found in folk music and his instruments such as the Concertronica perfectly reflect this meeting of folk and technology, the archaic and the futuristic – a modification of an old concertina, an instrument synonymous with traditional folk music in the UK and elsewhere.
His highly skilled and inventive production draws on a myriad of post-rave styles – garage, dubstep, techno, broken beats – and comparisons can be made to the electronic explorations of the likes of Flying Lotus, Polar Bear, Fourtet; plus contemporaries Mount Kimbie, Micachu and Jon Hopkins’ work with King Creosote – but the manner in which he assembles his choppy beats, skittering electronics and trademark collage of treated percussion and found sound results in music that stands out as unmistakably his own.
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