Donovan began experimenting with electronic music as part of a university 'laptop orchestra' and later making interactive software including being commissioned to build an app for CERN's Large Hadron Collider.
After the self-release his 2017 album ‘The Trees are Dancing’, 2019 sees DEADBEAR set to release a new artistic project and record ‘World Music Market’. The release is a concept record tied wholly to Berlin, vinyl and the migration of people and music. All profits will be going directly to charity, specifically projects that help integrate refugees into Western communities and develop new skills.
Donovan wrote this new record over the course of several months after amassing a stack of vintage ‘World Music’ vinyl from his local Sunday flohmarkt. Donovan says “I would go to this one same stall every Sunday and pick up something incredible - discontinued runs of Middle East compilations, Nubian region samplers, one hit wonders from Yemen. After a while it became clear this collection needed to become more than just a Sunday listening experience. I knew I had to make a record out of it.” ‘World Music Market’ collides styles and samples from 11 vinyl records (most pressed in the 50s and 60s) and 14 different countries. Korean Court music sits alongside Tibetan Folk, Syrian dances and Sudanese prayer songs. Encapsulating the spirit of Berlin through the context of electronic music, celebrations of multiculturalism and migration of people to Berlin from all corners of the world, ‘World Music Market’ is also a record that plays with set concepts of time and place.
Donovan explains,“Berlin is very much a place of coalescing cultures and coexisting, multiple temporalities and I wanted this record to give a real sense of those aspects. This project is not a vision of a multicultural utopia. Multiculturalism, just like the music on this record, juxtaposes multiple traditions, backgrounds and different sacred, or secular, practices in one space. Sometimes it works, sometimes it jars and creates tension or unexpected artefacts but the experience is the richer for it - and the ‘picture’ one of greater depth and colour.”
“I wanted to challenge our constant search for authenticity - especially in cultural areas of our present times. Exoticness, Otherness, authenticity, these are things that are inherently amorphous and flawed and playing with those ideas has been a big part of this record.”
Previous to the self release of ‘The Trees are Dancing’, Donovan released his debut EP on Art is Hard Records, garnering critical acclaim from BBC Radio 1, BBC 6 Music, The Wire Magazine, Virgin, XFM and the NME. A follow up double single was released on Cascine's CSCN label featuring Japanese producer and singer Qrion - famed for her work with Ryan Hemsworth.
I will also be delivering a special workshop on the making of the record at this year’s Pop Kultur festival in Berlin and the 21st August.