Bracken is a musical project spinning in a loose and ill-defined orbit around founder member Chris Adams. In another life, Chris, along with his brother Richard are known as co-captains of the good ship Hood. In this latest incarnation we see a side-step/stumble into a puzzling soundworld of future pop, analogue tape trickery, avant drone, loose dub flourishes, hip hop pacing and clattering drums. Anticon are proud to welcome Bracken to the fold.
Chris' formative years came with all the right accoutrements of youth: small town boredom, a four track, a walkman, and long, aimless walks in the countryside. Soon he found himself with nothing to do but artist scratchy demos, mail them to people (anybody, really), write fan letters to ambient/industrial heroes, make fanzines, design imaginary artist sleeves, and otherwise give himself the feel of being a musical mover and shaker. With Hood, this gradually became a reality as the Adamses and their rotating cast of deckhands cut a wake through rural and rustic England, carving out their pastoral path in broad strokes of guitar fuzz and feedback, and tight maneuvers of dub pacing and electronic ingenuity. They created a constantly evolving vehicle for their own ever-evolving tastes. A short-lived move Sheffield opened up yet more avenues of electronic exploration on the discovery/patronage of the then thriving but now sadly defunct Warp artists shop.
When asked about the musical ambition driving the Bracken project, the answers are typically obscure, "I decided to make a one-off piece of music with the brief that it had to sound exactly like a pop band being frozen solid and then shattered into a million pieces... and then the next thing I know I've gone and started a whole new band." Furthermore, the artisting process itself is wrapped up in the preferred lexicon of descriptive avoidance, "I'd say a good comparison would be that of constructing flat-pack furniture. You've got an idea of what you're meant to end up with, you've got all the tools and all the parts, and you try to knock it all together to make it work but it won't quite fit. So you cut a little bit off here, maybe use something from another failed project and glue it on there, then once it's finally standing, you put a cloth over it and a vase and hope the damn thing doesn't collapse. Basically, with Bracken, a lot of square pegs end up being forced into round holes until ultimately I up with something new and unexpected."
So, how did Bracken find their way across the Atlantic and find a home at Anticon? The symbiosis between Hood and Anticon has been well documented but the exact chronology lost in time. Says Chris, "l'd been hunting around for this artist I'd read about called "Music for the advancement of hip hop" which sounded like a pretty bold statement of intent, and then came home to find those cLOUDDEAD 10"s stuffed unceremoniously behind my bin by the mailman. They'd been sent by someone called Odd Nosdam and it took me a little while to link the two releases up because, as I recall, I was having quite a struggle picking my jaw up from the floor." Thus Anticon found their way to the brothers Adams and with this followed the much ballyhooed collaboration between Messrs Madson, Wolf and Drucker (aka Odd Nosdam, Why? and Dose One) and Hood on their 2001 album Cold House. It's little wonder then that Bracken have found their way to Anticon.
Bracken now operate out of a home studio located in the heart of Leeds' bustling crack district and collaborates with blood relatives, wellwishers and kindred spirits divided only by oceans and thousands upon thousands of miles.