“Sentient Machines” EP recording sessions
Bass player and composer of Sentient Machines, Scott Archibald, now based in Montréal Canada was due to go to Simon’s studio in Morocco for a recording project early 2020 but like so many projects at that time, COVID put a dramatic stop to the project.
However, Scott eventually did get to Morocco and spent time in Essaouira studying guembri, soaking in the atmosphere, eating fish and getting lost in the medina. In October 2022, Scott, Simon and Mouna finally hooked up in France and the long-awaited recording sessions happened at the “Studios de la Filature” in Périgueux with talented engineer and producer Arthur de Cossette.
Scott came armed with a mix or quasi-complete tracks, 2 of which were written using some of Simon’s loops (“Funky Rai” and “The Blue Door”). Simon then re-recorded the drums and percussion on these tracks and added percussion to the 3rd track “The Road to Mandalay”.
The drums and percussion sessions lasted for 3 days and the final 2 days were taken up adding Mouna Eddrou’s vocals and extra bass and guitar from Scott. Scott then took the Sentient Machines recording to Canada for a final mix and mastering.
“Sentient Machines” is an intriguing mix of grooves, sounds, textures and inspirations and is a tribute to Scott’s compositional talent. To complete the EP he added the track “Moving Forward in Reverse” which he had already recorded and mixed.
In Scott’s own words:
“Sentient Machines” is some of my music and some collaboration between myself and my friend Simon Webster, who is a master percussionist from the UK and his partner Mouna Eddrou, who is a Moroccan Sufi singer. I’m very proud and excited to present this project. It is some of the most interesting and original music I have made so far in my life as a musician. This recording also features my guitar playing and occasional vocal, and of course some fretless low end.
“The Blue Door” is inspired by North African and gnaoua music combined with some bluesy and folk elements. It is about getting lost in the medina in Essaouria , Morocco. All of the doors were painted blue, and I spent quite some time trying to find my door where I was staying, wandering around in what seemed like a maze or a labyrinth trying to find my “blue door.” I came to realize that I had passed by it several times unknowingly.
People Of Beauty (Funky Rai ) was inspired by Simon’s drum and percussion loop called Funky Rai , which brought out some of my funk and latin influences on bass as well as some dirty, fusiony guitar with Simon’s funky drumming and layers of percussion. The title “People of Beauty” is inspired by a translation of Mouna’s vocals, which alludes to the beauty of the human spirit in Sufism.
“Road to Mandalay” is based on some riffs that I wrote years ago on a Turkish mandolin that I bought in a music shop in Istanbul during my travels in 2012. From there I traveled to the Cappadocia region of Turkey and came up with the original riff while jamming on the mandolin inside an ancient chapel carved into the rock. My journey carried on from Turkey to the mountains of Myanmar , where I ended up taking a journey on an old train that had one of the highest elevations in the world followed by one of the hairiest bus rides I’ve ever had back down to the northern city of Mandalay. This tune was finally brought to life and realized by Simon’s layers of percussion and Mouna’s ethereal vocals, resulting in a fusion of Arabic, African and Pan- Asian influences.
“Moving Forward In Reverse “ is a first for me in terms of performing all the instruments on a recording , and is a tribute to home, the west coast of Canada where I grew up. This piece evokes the cycle of life, the shifting of the tides and the changing of the seasons. This recording is a journey to the Far East then back home to my place of birth. A Canada, UK, Morocco, and France joint effort. Last but not least , this was made possible in part by the excellent engineering of Arthur DeCosette at Sans Reserve Studios, Perigueux, France. Thank you for listening ! Scott”.