Working at the micro level with a subtractive and minimalist approach to structure, Fell writes his compositions by drawing the beats on a grid with the pencil tool in Digital Performer. Swinging, fuzzily corporeal and not without a sense of fun, Sensate Focus twitches and lurches between the dots that connect minimal techno and glitch with house hallmarks to create an uncommon synthetic soul music.
A writer, installation artist, curator and musician, Fell is probably best known as one half of SND (with Mat Steel), who released for labels such as Mille Plateaux and Raster-Noton. His entry into music-making first happened, he admits, “on crap speakers in the spare room of a social housing project in a small town in the North of England." Eventually, this led to studies in experimental film, video art, computational technology, music and synthetic sound: a perfect storm of fields that continue to define his varied outputs. Sensate Focus started in 2012 as an academic excursion and critical dissection of house music, defined by a sound palette generated using Razor, a virtual synth developed by Errorsmith, and Fell's skewings of 4/4 time signatures. Out of this cerebral framework he wrings an astonishing amount of warmth and groove and the project has attracted some curious collaborations with other left fielders like, Vladislav Delay, DJ Sprinkles and Heatsick. Always pushing into new territories with his musical, visual and other art projects, his conceptualist's senses and his fascinations and feelings for popular impulses and forms continue to breed compelling offspring.
Live, Fell cuts a distinctive figure, hunched over his machines in his typical flat cap, an appearance more rural than raver and a disarming embodiment of the dualisms at play in his dance-not-dance music as Sensate Focus
With the support of the British Council.