1. a rolled up or coiled condition. 2. a rolling or coiling together.
3. a turn of anything coiled; whorl; sinuosity. 4. anat. one of the sinuous folds or ridges of the surface of the brain. 5. an operation performed on two signals which involves multiplying one signal by a delayed version of another signal, integrating or averaging the product, and repeating the process for different delays. 6. the artistic partnership of Silvia Mestres and Mark Cunningham, embodying all of the above.
Convolution was founded, or rather, named, in 2001, but had been in process of creation since the early '90s. Silvia worked with me on my solo shows throughout the decade, at first designing the stage show and later collaborating in music creation, especially in the recording of my solo album "Blood River Dusk", released in 1997, creating samples, playing guitar and singing. So the transition to forming a live project was quite natural. Our first shows were in Barcelona and Navarra, but in July and August, 2001, we did a 15-show tour of the States to present our first CD - 1 to 5, on sublingual records. A subsequent live CD from that tour - Convolution Goes West, was the first release on our own label, SpookySound. In the following ten years we released three more albums and played extensively around Europe. After the release of "So Unalone" on SpookySound in 2010, and the subsequent shows, we decided to take an indefinite break to concentrate on video creation and other projects. We shall return.
CONVOLUTION, 1 TO 5, Smoke and Convolution Goes West
Mark Cunningham used to play guitar in Mars, one of the more thoughtful groups participating in NYC's No Wave scene on the late 70s and early 80s. Now based in Barcelona, he contributes trumpet and groovebox (combining drum machine and processed electronics) as half of the electro-visual duo Convolution he shares with guitarrist, vocalist and visual artist Silvia Mestres. Consisting of a mini-album, an EP and a live set, this trio of Convolution CDs offers a multifaceted overview that still misses one crucial component - the visual projections that accompany them live./ The overwhelming mood coming off 1 To 5 is melancholy. Stylistically, Convolution's music occupies a mid-ground between Jon Hassell and Ben Neill. The opening track "Psycholution" is driven by a trumpet motif over a gloomy bass-heavy electronic rhythm, like Herb Alpert walking up in a spaceship. When he improvises, however, alternating between long, sonorous proclamations and agitated tonguing and smears, Cunningham sounds closer to Don Cherry. Adapted from William Blake's "Songs of Innocence", "The Blossom" sets a poignant trumpet atop a multitracked one-man orchestra, while Mestres intones the legend of the sparrow seeking solace in the author's blossom - hence the soundtrack's repetitive heartbeat. As musical Blake adaptations go, this pitches down midway between David Axelrod and Mike Westbrook./ By way of contrast, the Smoke EP is Convolution's meditation on Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water" riff. The track undergoes five remixes. The most impressive is Jakob Draminsky Hojmark's "Blue Smoke", which simply yet passionately presses Cunningham's now very Miles Davis-like trumpet against an arrhythmic backfround marked out by a heartbeat. On "Trill 61", a hyperactivity of trumpet, electronics and guitars threatens to engulf the riff altogether./ When "Trill 61" reappears on Convolution Goes West - compiled from performances in Knoxville, Columbus and Chicago - the "Smoke" riff has completely vanished. The set's performances of "Psycholution" and "No West" are noticeably more feral and tactile than the studio versions. The music works well enough without the duo's visual projections. Stripped of studio effects, meanwhile, "The Blossom" morphs into a more carnal torch song, while Mestres' interpretation of a song called "La Frontera Del Cuerpo", over a near drum 'n' bass backdrop, underlines Convolution's quiet power. By Marcello Carlin. Wire 225, November 2002
Convolution's noirer-than-noir trumpet, voice and effects thing is loaded with subtle menace. Cunningham and partner Silvia Mestres are on to something darkly magical. Time Out New York magazine. July 5th, 2001
...deeply distorted guitar, breathy vocals, trumpet, synth. Sounds like: balloon animals mid-contortion, Latin Jazz, rainy island nights locked inside of a haunted house, and the hot & cold soundtrack to an ever-morphing poetry book. CEC-Philadelpia newsletter July 8th 2001
Subterranean whirls: The art of Convolution is situated somewhere amidst the least predictable ambient, jazz and rock.. With a happily milesdavisesque trumpet attack and several distortions, the duo transported us to new territories where heaven and hell get confused: at the bottom of fast and stimulant whirls. La Vanguardia. Friday, October 19th 2001
"Mark Cunningham uses the trumpet to caress the audience into a sonic landscape lush with heady atmospheres full of lusty intrigue. Seductively urges the listener to relax into a full body aural massage. Perfect music for mid summer's night dreams." Lydia Lunch
So Unalone, 2010 SoundCloud